TEXAS (FOX 44) – The Texas Department of Transportation is once again promoting seatbelt awareness and enforcement.

The Click It or Ticket campaign is back in 2022. In 2021, there were 3,507 vehicle crashes in Texas where unbuckled drivers received fatal or serious injuries – a 14 percent increase from 2020. TxDOT says that wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of dying in a crash by 45 percent for people in the front seat of passenger cars. For those in pickup trucks, seat belts reduce this risk by 60 percent.

Through June 5, Texas officers and deputies will step up enforcement of the state’s seat belt and child car seat laws. Texas law requires everyone in a vehicle to be properly secured in the front or back seat – or face fines and fees up to $200. Children younger than eight years old must be restrained in a child safety seat or booster seat unless they are taller than 4’9″. If a child isn’t secured, the driver faces fines of up to $250.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the “Click It” campaign in Texas. Because of TxDOT’s campaign, 6,972 lives have been saved, 120,000 serious injuries have been prevented, and $26.3 billion has been saved in related economic costs over the past 20 years.

At the center of this year’s campaign is Riley Leon (the Austin area teen driver of a pickup truck who was caught on camera in late March, driving his truck through a Texas tornado in Elgin, Texas. The viral video of Riley’s accident has been viewed millions of times. Riley made the very wise decision to wear his seatbelt that morning (March 21st), when he drove through the tornado and his truck was caught up in the storm. Riley is sharing his story as part of the “Click It” campaign in order to encourage Texas drivers and their passengers to always buckle up.