|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - June 2009
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TxDOT urges Texans to buckle up
Polk County Enterprise - June 2009
HOUSTON — This past weekend, Houston motorists received a reminder from some unusual characters to buckle up or pay a fine. The Texas Department of Transportation enlisted the help of five inflatable ambassadors for its eighth annual Click It or Ticket campaign. The characters made their Houston debut at Discovery Green, accompanied by the wild masterpieces of the Orange Show’s Art Car preview party, and assisting law enforcement in raising awareness of Texas safety belt laws. Since May 8, the five inflatable characters—including Godzilla, a rock icon and a rubber duck— have begun appearing in surprise locations throughout Houston and other major Texas cities carrying a unified message – Click It or Ticket. Looming more than two stories tall, these unconventional messengers warn Texans that they will face fines if they do not follow safety belt laws. The goal of this year’s campaign is to raise Texas safety belt compliance to 93.25 percent. To reach that goal TxDOT has created programs that target pickup drivers and passengers, teen drivers and other hold-outs who have yet to get into the habit of using their safety belts. TxDOT is making a special effort reach drivers aged 18-34, a group more likely to be involved in traffic crashes and less likely to buckle up than other age groups. To do this, they have created an educational campaign specifically designed for high school students. “We are extremely proud to have a 90 percent compliance rate here in Texas, but it is important to understand that when we talk about safety belt compliance we are talking about saving people’s lives,” said TxDOT official Dennis Delvin of Houston. “This year’s campaign may take a light-hearted approach, but our message and our mission could not be more serious.” Thousands of state troopers, police officers and sheriff’s deputies will be on Houston streets and highways between May 18 and 31, including the Memorial Day holiday weekend, to enforce the state’s safety belt laws. Last year alone, law enforcement issued more than 20,000 safety belt citations. Wearing a safety belt is the easiest and most effective way to prevent serious injury or death in a crash. Drivers and front seat passengers can be ticketed for not wearing their safety belt, as can drivers who do not buckle up their children. Safety belt violations can result in fines ranging from $25 to $200. The eighth annual Click It or Ticket enforcement effort is supported through partnerships with the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), as well as local law enforcement agencies. For more information, visit http://www.texasclickitorticket. com.