The Texas Department of Transportation Austin District has announced a public safety outreach campaign highlighting seat belt usage.
The "There are Some Things More Confining than a Seat Belt" campaign consists of TV and radio public service announcements in both English and Spanish, as well as social media and posters.
In 2017, almost 3,000 people were killed or seriously injured for failing to wear their seat belt in the state of Texas. Wearing a seat belt increases your chances of surviving a crash by 45 to 60 percent.
"Anytime someone is killed or seriously injured in a crash on a state highway, I take it personally," TxDOT Austin District Engineer Terry McCoy said. "It's our agency's mission to help everyone get home safely each night, and that's why we created this campaign."
On Aug. 24, 2016, Eden Ganzerla lost control of her car while driving to work and crashed into a retaining wall—breaking nearly every bone in her body. Now she struggles with a traumatic brain injury and must speak through a computer. Eden was not wearing her seat belt.
"Before the crash, Eden was very outgoing and talkative, living life to the fullest with her animals and friends," said John Ganzerla, Eden's father. "Now, she is dependent on her mother and me for even the simplest everyday tasks."
Together with Eden and her family, TxDOT Austin District developed the public safety outreach campaign highlighting Eden's story and reminding drivers and passengers to buckle up, no matter where or how far they're traveling.
Texas law requires everyone in a vehicle to be properly buckled up or face fines and court costs up to $200. Children younger than 8 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.