Nearly a quarter of vehicle crashes in 2021 in Texas involved a teen driver

ATLANTA ­– Too many parents are living their worst fear: losing a child. These parents have lost teenagers in vehicle crashes in which they weren’t wearing their seat belt.

Vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for U.S. teenagers, and TxDOT’s Teen Click It or Ticket campaign is urging teens to buckle up — every seat, every ride. 

In 2021, there were 20 motor vehicle traffic crashes in the Atlanta District in which unrestrained teen occupants (ages 15-20) sustained fatal or serious injuries. These crashes resulted in 4 fatalities and 19 serious injuries.

Seat belts offer the best protection in a crash, but sadly seat belt use remains low among teen drivers and passengers. In 2021, 45% (144 of 318) of teens killed in vehicle crashes were not wearing seat belts.

“Teen drivers are less experienced and twice as likely as adult drivers to be involved in a fatal crash,” said Atlanta District Engineer Rebecca Wells. “In addition to slowing down and not driving distracted or impaired, we want our teens to know the importance of wearing a seat belt. Teenagers are the least likely of all age groups to use a seat belt, but it can literally save their life if they’re involved in a crash.,” Wells added. “Seat belts keep you inside the vehicle and reduce your risk of dying in a crash by 45 percent in a car, and up to 60 percent in a pickup truck.”

“We want to remind teens to always buckle their seat belts. Everyone must buckle up: every rider, every ride,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams. “It takes only a few seconds to put on your seat belt, and those few seconds can save a life.” 

During Feb. 1- 15, the Teen Click It or Ticket campaign will be rolled out statewide, seeking to reach Texas teens with its imperative seat belt safety message. The outreach will include TV, radio, digital advertising and social media. Additionally, an interactive element will be introduced as the campaign makes visits to several high school campuses across the state with its Teen Click It or Ticket mobile digital vehicle. 

Teens will also learn about the Texas law which requires drivers and all passengers to wear seat belts. Unbuckled drivers and passengers — even those in the back seat — can face fines and fees of up to $200. 

TxDOT’s Teen Click It or Ticket campaign is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel to help end the streak of daily deaths. Nov. 7, 2000, was the last deathless day on Texas roadways.

Follow TxDOT’s Atlanta District on Facebook @TxDOTAtlantaTX, Twitter @TxDOTAtlanta and Nextdoor.