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TxDOT Reminds You To Buckle Up

For your family, for your friends, for your future, unbelted crash survivor urges you to buckle up.

AUSTIN — On Aug. 24, 2016, Eden Ganzerla lost control of her car while driving to work and crashed into a retaining wall – breaking nearly every bone in her body. Now she struggles with a traumatic brain injury and must speak through a computer. Eden was not wearing her seat belt.

“Before the crash, Eden was very outgoing and talkative, living life to the fullest with her animals and friends,” said John Ganzerla, Eden’s father. “Now, she is dependent on her mother and me for even the simplest everyday tasks.”

In 2017, almost 3,000 people were killed or seriously injured for merely failing to wear their seat belt in the state of Texas. Wearing a seat belt increases your chances of surviving a crash by 45 to 60 percent.

“Anytime someone is killed or seriously injured in a crash on a state highway, I take it personally,” said TxDOT Austin District Engineer Terry McCoy. “It’s our agency’s mission to help everyone get home safely each night, and that’s why we created this campaign.”

Together with Eden and her family, TxDOT Austin District developed a public safety outreach campaign highlighting Eden’s story and reminding drivers and passengers to buckle up, no matter where or how far they’re traveling. The “There are Some Things More Confining than a Seat Belt” campaign consists of TV and radio public service announcements in both English and Spanish, as well as social media and posters.

TxDOT and the Ganzerla family were joined today by Austin Police Lt. Blake Johnson and Sgt. Robbie Barrera from the Texas Department of Public Safety to reinforce there is no excuse for not wearing your seat belt.

Texas law requires everyone in a vehicle to be properly buckled up or face fines and court costs up to $200. Children younger than eight 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 of up to $250, plus court costs.

For media inquiries, contact Diann.Hodges@txdot.gov or (512) 832-7027.