AUSTIN (KXAN) – The Texas Department of Transportation will launch its annual Click It or Ticket campaign Monday asking drivers and passengers to buckle their seat belts the next time they get into their vehicles.

According to TxDOT, 1,258 unbuckled drivers and passengers died in 2022, up 2.5% from the year before.

TxDOT said law enforcement agencies across Texas will be stepping up enforcement of the state’s seat belt laws from May 22 through June 4.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates the Click It or Ticket initiative has saved more than 7,399 lives, prevented more than 120,000 serious injuries and resulted in $28.5 billion in economic savings since its inception in 2002, according to TxDOT.

TxDOT said a victim of an unbuckled crash will be at Monday’s kick-off. Eden Ganzerla is recovering from a traumatic brain injury caused by the 2016 crash. She shared her message with TxDOT.

My short term goals are to speak loudly and clearly gain more strength in my left hand and left leg and learn to pick things up with my left hand and hold it for five seconds. My long term goals are to talk again and gainful function of my left arm and leg so that I can return to my independence and take care of myself. drivers and their passengers should always wear their seatbelts even if they’re just traveling a short distance. If I had buckled up the day of my crash before driving to work, my injuries would have been a lot less severe. As I always say don’t do this to your loved ones. They don’t deserve it and neither to you.

Eden Ganzerla