Click it or Ticket Campaign
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is helping promote the Click it or Ticket campaign which actually started May 23 and runs through June 5. This includes the Memorial Day Weekend. The campaign is working to get more pickup truck drivers to buckle up.
Taking about three seconds to buckle your seat belt is the most important step you can take to protect yourself in a crash. Bev Kellner, AgriLife Extension vehicle safety specialist states, “While most Texans now routinely buckle up, some groups of motorists still aren’t consistently using seat belts. Statistics show those most likely to be unrestrained are men and young adults, especially pickup truck drivers and passengers.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nationally about 50% of those killed in crashes are unrestrained – and it’s about 61% for pickup truck occupants. The Texas Department of Transportation reported last year that 40 percent of those killed in Texas crashes were unrestrained.
NHTSA reports that in 2015 along, seat belts prevented 370 fatalities and 6,652 serious injuries in Texas. When the Click it or Ticket Campaign began in 2002, the percentage of people using seat belts jumped from 76 percent to more than 90 percent. Pickup drivers and their passengers typically depend on their vehicle’s larger size to protect them in a crash, but the fact is that pickup trucks are twice as likely to roll over than passenger cars, and pickup truck crashes can be especially serious – even deadly – due to their tendency to roll over and unbelted occupants to be thrown from the vehicle.
Kellner states that most people are not aware of the dangers posed by unbuckled backseat passengers. In a crash, they can become projectiles that are tossed around inside the vehicle, injuring or killing those in the front seat. NHTSA and Texas Department of Transportation statistics show riders in the back seat who use lap and shoulder belts are 44% more likely to survive in a crash than unrestrained occupants in passenger cars, and they are 73% more likely to survive a crash in passenger vans or SUV’s.
There is another good reason for people to use their seat belts – it’s the law. Unbelted drivers and adults passengers can face fines and court costs of up to $200. Children younger than eight must be in a child safety seat or booster seat unless that are taller than 4 feet 9 inches. Fines issued to drivers for unrestrained children in their vehicle can be as high as $250 plus court costs.
Since this year’s campaign time frame includes Memorial Day weekend – a time many people take to the road to enjoy the long weekend – drivers can expect to encounter additional law enforcement activity, including checking seat belts and child restraints.
These officers are not out just to write tickets, but want to help prevent the needless tragedy from motor vehicles accidents. It only take a few seconds to buckle up. Buckling up isn’t something to do just during the Click it or Ticket campaign. It is something everyone should do every time they get into a vehicle.
On another note, be a courteous driver. On a recent trip to my district office in Dallas, a driver whizzed in and out of lanes, tailgating, and narrowly missing other vehicles. That is the cause for many crashes. Watch out for the other driver, use your signal light to change lanes or turn, and if you are going below the speed limit, please use the right lane to prevent traffic backups on busy highways.
Be courteous, be cautious, be kind, and buckle up!
Master Wellness Volunteers
Each year, I treat my Master Wellness Volunteers are recognized for the contributions they have made in our community. In March, April, and May, Master Wellness Volunteers contributed over 70 hours of service in and around Hopkins County by assisting with Kids’ Safe Saturday, Region 8 Education Service Center Parent Fair, 55+ Health Fair, District 4-H Contests, Kids’ Camp planning sessions, Skills Camp planning sessions, 8th Grade Career Day at TAMU-Commerce, and many more.
I will be treating the Hopkins County MWV’s to a luncheon on Wednesday, June 1, from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. at the Extension Office, 1200-B W. Houston in Sulphur Springs. I want to invite anyone else who is interested in learning more about the Master Wellness Volunteer program to join us! A regional conference will take place in July, and I plan to take a car full of volunteers! Give us a call if you would like to attend the luncheon or learn more about the Master Wellness Volunteer program.
Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand ore, so that we may fear less – Marie Curie