Seat belt use continues its downward trend among Texas teen drivers and passengers
February 2, 2024
ATLANTA – A parent’s worst nightmare happens all too often in Texas as the number of unbuckled teen drivers and passengers killed in crashes is rising. TxDOT’s Teen Click It or Ticket campaign is urging all teens to buckle up—every seat, every ride.
Vehicle crashes continue to be a leading cause of death for U.S. teenagers. The number of teenagers killed in Texas who weren’t wearing their seat belt increased from 144 in 2021 to 162 in 2022, the equivalent of three full school buses.
In the Atlanta District’s nine counties in 2022, there were 24 crashes in which unrestrained teen occupants (ages 15-20) sustained fatal or serious injuries. These crashes resulted in three fatalities and 24 serious injuries. The Atlanta District includes Bowie, Camp, Cass, Harrison, Marion, Morris, Panola, Titus and Upshur counties.
“We want to remind our teens to always buckle up, no matter how far the drive,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams. “It only takes a few seconds to put on your seat belt, and that simple click can save a life.”
Seat belts offer the best protection in a crash. Unfortunately, seat belt use remains low among Texas teen drivers and passengers. In 2022, 51% (162 of 320) of teens killed in vehicle crashes were not wearing seat belts.
The Teen Click It or Ticket campaign will travel the state Feb. 1-15, reaching out to Texas teens with its imperative seat belt safety message. The tour will include a mobile digital vehicle featuring screens displaying safety information. It will also include a trailer with the wreckage from a truck crash that involved two teenagers who walked away with minor injuries because they were wearing seat belts.
During the interactive experience, teens will learn about the Texas law that requires drivers and all passengers to wear seat belts. Unbuckled drivers and passengers—even those in the back seat—can face fines and fees of up to $200.
The Teen Click It or Ticket campaign is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel to help end the streak of daily deaths. Nov. 7, 2000, was the last deathless day on Texas roadways.
Follow TxDOT’s Atlanta District on Facebook @TxDOTAtlantaTX, Instagram @txdotatlanta, X @TxDOTAtlanta and Nextdoor.
The information contained in this report represents reportable data collected from the Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report (CR-3). This information was received and processed by the department as of November 13, 2022.
The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, maritime, rail and public transportation across the state.
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