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David and Wendy Mills of Spring, shared their story about losing their 16-year-old daughter, Kailee. (TxDOT photo)

May 2018 marks the 16th anniversary of “Click It or Ticket,” a campaign urging Texans to buckle up.

This year, the Texas Department of Transportation kicked off its annual campaign by displaying 929 pairs of shoes, each pair representing a life lost on Texas roads last year that might have been saved by a seat belt.

At the “Click It or Ticket” press conference Tuesday in Austin, David and Wendy Mills of Spring, shared their story about losing their 16-year-old daughter, Kailee. She was the only one not wearing a seatbelt and was thrown from the car and killed. Her friends escaped with minor injuries. According to KXAN in Austin, Kailee unbuckled for just a moment to take a selfie with her friends.

When it launched in 2002, only 76 percent of Texans used their seat belts. Today nearly 92 percent buckle up. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that since its inception 16 years ago, the Texas “Click It or Ticket” campaign has saved 5,068 lives, prevented 86,359 serious injuries and saved Texas more than $19.3 billion in related economic costs.

The campaign reminding Texans to buckle up is more important than ever. Deaths among people not wearing seat belts increased 9 percent from 2015 to 2016. And while nearly 92 percent are buckling up, 8 percent still don’t. The number of people who don’t buckle up doubles to 16 percent at night, when more fatalities occur.

Last year 62 percent of the 994 unbelted fatalities occurred at night. That’s why the “Click It or Ticket” campaign to remind Texans to buckle up—both day and night—is more important than ever. Seat belts save lives.

Wearing a seat belt helps keep you from being ejected in a crash and increases your chances of surviving by 45 percent in a passenger vehicle and up to 60 percent in a pickup truck. In Texas, the law requires everyone in a vehicle to buckle up or face fines and court costs up to $200. Children younger than 8 years 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 up to $250 plus court costs.