Police enforcing seat belt laws at start of summer

HARLINGEN — It’s not hard for police to spot drivers not wearing their seat belt.

And if passengers are not wearing a seat belt either, or wearing it incorrectly, they are not only at risk of injury, but also facing a stiff penalty if caught.

“The law requires everyone in a vehicle to buckle up,” Harlingen Police Commander John Parrish said. “People think they are wearing their seat belt properly when it’s under their arm.”

Parrish said that’s not a proper way of using a seat belt and is very dangerous.

So to help make the summer safer on the road for everyone, Texas law enforcement officers took part in the annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign.

The enforcement period ran from May 21 to June 3.

“Wearing a seatbelt is one of the single most effective ways that drivers and passengers can protect themselves,” Parrish said. “Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of dying in a crash.”

During the Memorial Day weekend, Harlingen police logged in more than 90 tickets to drivers.

The “Click It or Ticket” enforcement period is a joint effort by TxDOT, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Texas Department of Public Safety and numerous city and county law enforcement agencies.

Parrish said the Click it or Ticket campaign has been very successful.

“In Texas it has saved 5,473 lives, prevented over 95,500 serious injuries and saved more than $20.7 billion in related economic costs from 2002 through 2007,” Parrish stated about the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s statistics.

Passengers who are not buckled up are in violation of Texas law and face fines and court costs of up to $200.

Children younger than 8 years must be in a child safety seat or booster seat unless they’re taller than 4 feet, 9 inches.

If they aren’t properly restrained, the driver faces fines of up to $250 plus court costs.

“Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of passengers being thrown around a vehicle or ejected from a vehicle,” Parrish said. “It is very dangerous if a passenger is ejected from a vehicle.”

Here’s the law

• Texas law requires drivers and all passengers in a vehicle to be secured by a safety belt.

• Children younger than 8 must be in a child safety seat or booster seat unless they are taller than 4 feet, 9 inches.

• Fines are up to $250 plus court costs.

More Information

To learn more about “Click It or Ticket,” visit texasclickitorticket.com.

By the numbers

During the enforcement period, Harlingen police officers logged over 200 miles and issued over 90 citations for various violations: 

56 adult seatbelt violations

1 speeding violation

9 child restraint violations

1 stop sign violation

6 insurance violations

15 driver’s license violations

3 miscellaneous violations