AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 22 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — The Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) efforts to increase safety belt use among young drivers and passengers ages 16 – 20 have proven successful as 9.1 percent more teen drivers in the five-county targeted area are wearing safety belts since the “Click It or Ticket” teen campaign launch last year, according to findings from U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
This February, law enforcement officials are encouraging young drivers and passengers to make sure they — and their loved ones — are wearing their safety belts 100 percent of the time, because when you love somebody, everything clicks. Law enforcement will be out in full force during enforcement week (February 22 – 28) to ensure teen drivers and passengers are buckled up, even if it means issuing a dose of “tough love.”
“We are proud of our results to date, but still have plenty of work to do as in 2008 nearly 50 percent of all Texas crash victims, ages 16 – 20, were not wearing their safety belts at the time of the crash,” said Carol T. Rawson, P.E., Deputy Traffic Operations Division Director for TxDOT. “Teens need to remember that buckling up can not only save their own lives, but also the lives of the people they love.”
Young drivers and passengers still fail to “click it” every time — especially in the back seat. According to NHTSA, on average, Texas kids and teens ages 5 – 16 buckle up less than 30 percent of the time in the back seat, versus nearly 80 percent of the time in the front seat. Consequently, a new traffic law passed last September in Texas requiring all occupants of a vehicle, including back seat passengers to be secured by a safety belt — no matter their age.
This “love” leg of the campaign will expand TxDOT’s reach by featuring interactive materials such as a virtual Valentine’s and an interactive quiz on the teen “Click It or Ticket” Web site, www.seatbeltsrock.com. Additionally, TxDOT will also be working with popular radio DJs, who will post messages about the campaign on their Twitter, Facebook and MySpace profiles so teens can receive this information from the social media networks they access daily.
Prior to the enforcement week, TxDOT has provided high schools with materials and incentives to motivate teens to buckle up. Schools have received Valentine’s cards, posters and Whataburger coupons to use as incentives. The counties included in this campaign are Bexar, Dallas, Tarrant, Harris and Hidalgo counties, which are where the majority of safety belt-related incidents take place among teens.
Regular safety belt use is the single most effective way to protect drivers and passengers and to reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. Those back seat passengers not buckled up can become a human missile during a crash, injuring not only themselves, but those in the front seat as well. TxDOT encourages everyone to love themselves and those around them enough to buckle up, every time.
For more information on Click It or Ticket, please visit www.texasclickitorticket.com.
TxDOT’s five goals: reduce congestion, enhance safety, expand economic opportunity, improve air quality and increase the value of transportation assets.
SOURCE Texas Department of Transportation