The "Click It or Ticket" seat belt awareness campaign took off nationwide Monday.
One metro woman uses this time, every year, to remind the youngest passengers and drivers to learn from people like her.
Accident scenes may only make headlines for a few weeks but the victims, like Heather Tice, live with the consequences forever.
"None of us had our seatbelt on. I was the unlucky one out of the four," Tice said.
Tice, then 15, was in a car when her friend drove into a tree, paralyzing her from the chest down.
Now, she straps children in for a short but hard lesson to hear in schools around the metro.
"It takes a split second ... seat belts are extremely important. You have to buckle up every single time," Tice said.
Tice is one of many nationwide participating in the "Click It or Ticket" campaign, reminding drivers getting pulled over is the least that can happen when they don't buckle up.
"My doctor was also a fellow spinal cord injury patient, and I asked him, 'When will I walk?' He said, 'Heather, you won't.' Everything up to that point didn't matter ... the car wreck, the three weeks, the touch-and-go, none of that held a match to the feelings that you feel. It was the final strand of hope taken from you," Tice said.
Tice is now a graduate student who is fully self-sufficient. She said she is happy to see cities and states adopt laws against driving without a seatbelt, because it means people are finally taking messages like hers more seriously.
Kansas City just adopted an ordinance giving police officers the right to pull drivers over if they are unbelted behind the wheel.
Both Kansas and Missouri have state laws against driving without a seatbelt.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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