'Click it or Ticket' campaign encourages Texans to buckle up for safety

Pookie Chapel is a car crash survivor
Pookie Chapel is a car crash survivor
DPS Trooper David Hendry
DPS Trooper David Hendry

POLK COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - For eleven years, the 'Click it or Ticket' campaign has been efforting Texans to wear a seatbelt.

Over 2,800 lives have been saved and more than 48,000 serious injuries have been prevented.

With summer vacations ahead, DPS officials want the message to be received before its too late.

And for Pookie Chapel, the message has already hit home.

Pookie, a car crash survivor, recounts the harrowing September 2002 accident where she and her mother were hit by a drunk driver.

Pookie underwent three reconstructive surgeries and counseling to deal with the stress.

She says it was the seatbelt that saved her life.

"I could've went through the windshield, where my book did- I was reading a library book and it was stuck. I could have and it -I could've been a fatality, but I had that seatbelt on and it did cut my chin and lifted my nose up, but it could've been a lot worse," said Chapel.

Trooper David Hendry agrees.

He says most wrecks in Texas happen on rural highways and usually involve a rollover.

"Often times, when we work one of those accidents, it's commonly seen that the occupants have been ejected or died at the scene as a result of not being able to stay within the vehicle," said Hendry.

Hendry says last year, of the 700, 000 Texans involved in car crashes where there were no injuries, 95 % were wearing seatbelts.

Pookie says by 'clicking it', you could save your life.

"It makes me feel really good that I spent those extra seconds to buckle up," said Chapel.

Texas law states that children under the age of eight must be secured in a safety seat, unless they are taller than 4 foot 9 inches.

Fines for not wearing a seatbelt range from $25 to $250.

Copyright 2012 KTRE. All Rights Reserved.