Unless you want a $250 fine, make sure to buckle up when you get behind the wheel.
Texas' annual Click It Or Ticket campaign began Monday, and Amarillo police officers along with other law enforcement started the search for drivers and passengers without seat belts.
"We're going to do real strict enforcement," APD Motorcycle Sgt. Steve Davis stated. "And this is your warning right here. So if you're fixing to get in the car, buckle up because if you don't we're going to find you and write you a citation for it."
Texas law requires drivers and all passengers in a vehicle to be secured by a safety belt, including adult passengers riding in the back seat. Children younger than eight years old must be in a child safety seat or booster seat unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches.
Both cops in patrol units and on motorcycles scoured the streets of Amarillo for people not abiding by this law. And if it meant working extra hours, well, the officers were not concerned about it. TxDOT is providing funding for law enforcement officers to work overtime during the two-week-long campaign.
"A grant we use to fund more officers to be available to enforce traffic laws," APD Patrolwoman Susan Goodman said, "especially wearing your seat belt and making sure all the passengers have their seat belts on- that grant pays us to work longer.")
The campaign allows the officers to issue citations citywide, so there is no limit to where they can go.
"We pick four different spots in Amarillo and we try to stay close to those spots because we know which ones are lower on the survey than others," Sgt. Davis said. "And, so, we'll hit those pretty hard."
Studies show Amarillo's rate of seat belt use is lower than the state average. Both Sgt. Davis and Goodman said they hope the campaign makes people think twice before pulling away without fastening their seat belts.
"Hopefully, people will continue to get better about it, especially when it comes to children and their passengers and making sure they're wearing them, too," Goodman added. "People are often ticketed for not wearing their seat belt, whether it be the driver or the passenger."
Make sure to buckle up- you could avoid a $250 fine, court costs and perhaps something even worse.