As vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for U.S. teenagers, the Texas Department of Transportation has launched a “Teen Click It or Ticket” campaign, which runs through February 15, to get teenaged motor vehicle drivers and passengers to buckle up “every seat, every ride.”
[Above photo by TxDOT]
The agency noted that nearly a quarter of vehicle crashes that occurred in Texas in 2021 involved a teenaged driver. However, while seat belts offer the best protection in a crash, seat belt use remains low among teenaged drivers and passengers. For example, in 2021, 45 percent (144 of 318) of teens killed in vehicle crashes were not wearing seat belts, TxDOT said.
“We want to remind teens to always buckle their seat belts. Everyone must buckle up: every rider, every ride,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams in a statement. “It takes only a few seconds to put on your seat belt, and those few seconds can save a life.”
He added that Texas law 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” statewide campaign includes TV, radio, digital advertising, and social media. Additionally, an interactive element will be introduced as the campaign makes visits to several high school campuses across the state with its “Teen Click It or Ticket” mobile digital vehicle.
Over the last several years, TxDOT has engaged in several broad efforts to improve motorist safety on state roadways.
For example, in August 2020, the agency launched a web-based augmented reality game called “Dart Those Distractions” to increase awareness about the dangers of distracted driving among Texas motorists in an “interactive, engaging way that resonates with all ages.”
The agency noted that about one in five crashes on Texas roads are caused by distracted driving and that game is a component of its broader #EndTheStreakTX social media and word-of-mouth campaign that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel, such as wearing a seat belt, driving the speed limit, never texting and driving and never driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
TxDOT also participated in a Transportation Research Board webinar on February 9 that examines practices and trends state departments of transportation are deploying to improve highway worker safety.
That webinar – sponsored by TRB’s National Highway Cooperative Research Program – is based on NCHRP Synthesis 591: Use of Safety Management Systems in Managing Highway Maintenance Worker Safety and featured a presentation by Samuel Salazar, occupational health safety manager at TxDOT, along with presentations from health and safety experts from the University of Kentucky and Texas A&M University.