Texas teen who went viral for driving through tornado helps launch TxDOT’s ‘Click it or Ticket’ campaign

Riley Leon speaks at the 'Click it or Ticket' event (TxDOT)

A Texas teen who went viral for driving through an active tornado during March’s severe weather outbreak helped launch Texas Department of Transportation’s “Click it or Ticket” campaign event this week.

Riley Leon, 16, was caught on camera driving in his red Chevrolet Silverado when a tornado flipped the truck on its side. He was reportedly returning from a job interview in Elgin, near Austin, according to a news release.

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“It was a couple of days [after the tornado hit] when I realized...I’m thankful to God because if not, that accident would have been tragic,” Leon said in an interview with TxDOT. “I probably wouldn’t be here. I’m thankful I wore my seatbelt.”

TxDOT’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign began in 2002 which encouraged Texans to buckle up when driving. The initiative has been estimated to have saved 6,792 lives and prevented 120,000 serious injuries.

“Whether you’re traveling during the day or at night, a short or long distance, or as a driver or a passenger, wearing a seat belt remains the single most effective way to protect yourself from serious injury or death in a crash,” TxDOT said in a news release.

Texas Law required all drivers and passengers in a vehicle to buckle up in both front and back seats. Children younger than 8 years old must be restrained in a child safety seat or booster. Violators can face fines between $200-$250.

This year’s campaign will run from May 23 to June 5.

About the Author:

A graduate of the University of Houston-Downtown, Ana moved to H-Town from sunny southern California in 2015. In 2020, she joined the KPRC 2 digital team as an intern. Ana is a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, a catmom of 2, and an aquarium enthusiast. In her spare time, she's an avid video gamer and loves to travel.