In 1956, only 2% of Ford drivers were willing to pay $27 for a seatbelt. Maybe they thought living through a crash was a luxury.
Luckily, we’re smarter today. Seatbelts save lives, and Texas seatbelt laws help make sure everyone wears one. If you break the law by not wearing your seatbelt, or even if your passengers do, you could face some serious fines or even a misdemeanor charge.
Texas Ramps Up Enforcement
In 2002, Texas launched its “Click It or Ticket” campaign to encourage people to wear seatbelts. At the time, only 76% of Texans wore seatbelts. Now, that number is up to 91%, but the campaign is trying to reach that last 9% as well.
Given how many drivers are on that road in Texas, that 9% is still significant. In 2019, 2,629 crashes occurred in which people who were not wearing seatbelts sustained serious or fatal injuries. Over half of the pickup drivers killed in car crashes were not wearing seatbelts.
Wearing a seatbelt can reduce your risk of dying in a car crash by 45%. If you drive a truck, it reduces your risk of dying by 60% since pickups are more likely to roll over in a crash. Seatbelts also keep you from flying through the windshield during a crash.
Officially, the Click It or Ticket campaign ran from November 16 to November 29 in 2020. During this time, Texas police issued more tickets to drivers without seatbelts, especially those driving at night.
However, even outside of these times enforcing seatbelt laws in Texas is a serious priority. For that reason, it’s important to know the law.
Texas Seatbelt Laws for Adults
The law is simple enough: is it against the law to drive or ride in a motor vehicle without a seatbelt in Texas. If the police catch you not wearing your seatbelt, you will be fined between $25 and $250. That is in addition to any court costs.
Failure to follow the law could also leave points on your license. In that case, you may need to take a safe driving course to remove them. A local attorney can help you find out more if the police catch you without your seatbelt, or after an accident.
The law also holds any adult driver vicariously responsible for any minors who do not wear a seatbelt or use a car seat in a vehicle.
Child Seatbelt Laws in Texas
According to the Texas Transportation Code, any child who is under eight years old and less than 4 feet, 9 inches tall must use a passenger safety seat system in the car. If you as the driver fail to put a child in a safety seat, you could receive a $25 to $250 fine and a misdemeanor charge.
Beyond the law, children under one year old or less than 35 pounds, should always ride in a rear-facing child seat in the backseat of the car. Under no circumstances should they ride in the front, because of risks from airbags.
Protect Yourself and Your Passengers
With how easy it is to put on a seatbelt, and how strict Texas seatbelt laws are, there really is no excuse not to wear one. It is the best thing you can do to keep yourself and your friends or family safe while you drive.
For more information on the law and how it could affect you, check out some of our other blog posts.