Kyle police say it is joining forces with the Texas Department of Public Safety and other local law enforcement agencies to step up enforcement of the state's seat belt laws between May 24 and June 6 in anticipation of increased summer holiday travel.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of dying in a crash by 45 percent for people in the front seat of passenger cars. For those in pickups, seat belts reduce the risk of dying in a crash by 60 percent, since pickups are more likely to roll over than passenger vehicles.
"While many motorists properly utilize restraint systems, there are still a large number who do not. Fastening a seat belt only takes a few seconds and properly securing a child in a safety seat takes only a bit longer, regardless, it is a small fraction of time which can make a life-or-death difference. Annually, many motorists lose their lives due to either improper restraint use or not wearing them at all. Our hope is that we can decrease that number by a large margin," said Sgt. Tracy Vrana of the Kyle Police Traffic Division.
According to recent TxDOT crash data, 1,073 people who died last year in crashes on Texas roads weren't wearing their seat belt.
Nighttime is a particularly deadly time, says Kyle police. In 2020, there were more than 2,200 fatalities and more than 7,100 serious injuries as a result of crashes between 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m.
State law requires everyone in a vehicle to buckle up or face fines and court costs of up to $200.
Children younger than 8 years must be in a child safety seat or booster seat unless they're taller than 4 feet 9 inches. If they aren't properly restrained, the driver faces fines up to $250 plus court costs.