AUSTIN (KXAN) – Starting Monday, May 22 through June 4, law enforcement officers across Texas will be stepping up enforcement of the state’s seat belt laws, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

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

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.

Texas law requires that every person in a vehicle be secured by a seat belt whether riding in the front or back seat. Fines and court costs for failing to fasten seat belts can add up to $250 or more.

“It’s critical for everyone to take just a few seconds to buckle up, every ride, every time,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams in a press release. “Wearing a seat belt is one of the most important precautions motorists and their passengers can take to protect themselves in a crash. Whatever reason you may have for not buckling up, I promise it’s not worth your life.”

TxDOT said while more than 90% of Texans make the right choice to wear a seat belt, its goal is to get 100% of drivers and passengers to wear their seat belt 100% of the time.

According to TxDOT, the 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.