Texarkana, Texas, Police Department will join other law enforcement officers across Texas and the nation as they increase efforts day and night to identify and issue tickets to drivers and passengers not wearing seatbelts.
The increased enforcement is May 22 through June 4.
"Police officers don't enjoy giving anyone a ticket, but these seatbelt enforcement periods help save lives by reminding people to wear their seatbelts," Chief Dan Shiner said. "We're going to specifically step up enforcement during nighttime hours, because that's when seatbelt use drops and fatalities increase."
Today, nearly 92 percent of people buckle up—up from 76 percent in 2002 when Click It or Ticket started. But 8 percent still don't, and that number doubles to 16 percent between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., when most traffic-related deaths occur. Last year, 62 percent of the 994 motorists without seatbelts died during that time.
In Texas, the law requires everyone in a vehicle—including those in the back seat—to buckle up or face fines and court costs up to $200. Children younger than 8 must be in child safety seats or booster seats unless they're taller than 4 feet, 9 inches. If they aren't properly restrained, the driver faces fines up to $250 plus court costs.
"Properly wearing a seatbelt is the most effective way to prevent death or serious injury in the event of a crash, and it's the law," said Shawn Vaughn, TTPD spokesman.