'Click It or Ticket' program in gear
The incoming constable for Harris County Precinct 8 warned that as part of the "Click It or Ticket" program, officers will be out in force watching for motorists and passengers who aren't wearing seatbelts over the Memorial Day holiday period.
As an added incentive for officers to get tough on lawbreakers, an $8,000 grant through the Texas Department of Transportation grant is available to the agency to pay for overtime.
"The extra cash would be nice," said Phil Sandlin, who will be chief deputy for the constable's office until he assumes his new post on June 1 when Constable Bill Bailey steps down.
However, Sandlin said the case for wearing a seatbelt is plain common sense.
"Wearing seatbelts saves lives," he said.
The grant program started May 22 and continues to extends to June 4 and requires officers to strictly enforce the law, which in Texas means everyone in a vehicle must be secured by a seatbelt.
That means unbuckled adult passengers in the back seat will be ticketed, too.
Sandlin said officers strive throughout the year to enforce the law.
The Memorial Day weekend is a particularly busy time as more drivers than usual take to the roads.
Sandlin said media coverage and freeway signs have helped raise awareness about the need to wear seatbelts, which have been shown to greatly reduce fatal injuries.
According to the Texas Click It or Ticket Website, wearing a seatbelt reduces the risk of fatal injury by 45 percent. In pickups, the risk is reduced by 60 percent because the trucks are more likely to roll over in a crash.
"We are seeing more and more people wearing seatbelts," Sandlin said. "People have grown to know what "click it or ticket" means."
During last year's "Click It or Ticket" initiative, Precinct 8 constable's officers issued 298 citations for drivers or passengers who weren't wearing seatbelts and for unrestrained children.
The charge is a Class C violation in Precinct 8, which carries a $130 fine.
The fine across Texas can be as high as $250.
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