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Special to the Booster

AUSTIN – 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.

“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 throughout Feb. 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.

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