LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - For some, earning your driver’s license is like a rite of passage and with that comes responsibility.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) spent Thursday morning visiting with Hudson high school students about why they should always wear their seatbelt when in a vehicle.
In 2018 42 percent of Texas teens killed in vehicle crashes were not wearing a seatbelt.
“That message is something that we have to drive home to them everyday so that it will become a habit to click that seatbelt when they get in the car,” said Rhonda Oaks, TxDOT Lufkin District public information officer.
Students saw a video of two men who survived a crash but left their truck crushed.
“I was scared for the people that were in there and what they had to go through,” said sophomore Jayci Marshall. “Because my mom got in a wreck, so I know that was scary for them.”
One junior has her permit and is working toward getting her driver’s license.
“It makes me feel free but I also know the complications that come with driving and the attentiveness that I need to have on the road,” said Kaylianna Dixon.
Another student said she doesn’t think her peers take things as seriously as they should.
“I think that most people think that seatbelts are a suggestion, it’s not going to do that much in the event of a wreck,” said junior Stella Huckabee. “But it’ll save a life, so I think it’s good to raise that awareness.”
What left a lasting impression with the students was seeing the remains of the truck that the two men were driving.
“Most of them are just so surprised. I mean it’s kind of ‘Oh maybe this’ll be good.’ And they see the video and they’re like, ‘Whoa.’ Then when they walk outside they’re like, ‘How did they live through that?’” said Oaks.
Students gasped and pointed at the sight of the truck.
“It was very educational. It really opened my eyes to see that, no matter what, we never really know what’s going to happen so we need to put on our seatbelts and make sure that we’re safe,” said Dixon. “And we need to protect the ones we love.”
Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of dying in a crash by 45 percent.
Texas law requires drivers and all passengers to wear a seat belt. Unbuckled drivers and passengers could face fines and fees of up to $200.