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Garland students highlighted in local paper

Mindy Le and Jessica Santibanez are serious when it comes to teen safe driving. Both serve on their schools Teens in the Driver Seat program and both are on the Teen Advisory Board. Recently they were also both highlighted in the NeighborsGo section of the Dallas Morning News. Jessica is also Teen of the Month for September, 2011.

Here is the article, in its entirety.

High school students promote safe driving

By Macrus Murphee

High school students Mindy Le and Jessica Santibanez take their time behind the wheel and the passenger seat very seriously.

Le and Santibanez use their classroom leadership to help influence other young people in Garland, through the Garland Youth Council, and help change lives of young drivers through their involvement with Teens in the Driver Seat. Both students have been in TDS for one year.

Read more about what these two young leaders have to say about promoting automobile safety among their peers.

See the Garland Youth Council and Teens in the Driver Seat pedal car at their special set up in the Special Events Center lot.

Mindy LeMindy Le, Garland High, Junior

What made you decide to become part of Teens in the Driver Seat?

Although, I am not a licensed driver yet, I am still affected by other drivers. As a passenger, my life is in the hands of the driver, so I wanted a way to help fellow passengers know they have the power to influence the driver in making safe decisions while driving. Teens in the Driver Seat promotes driving safety, so not only the driver can be safe, but passengers too. This is why I value the fact that TDS not only has a high school program, but also for Junior High.

What is the biggest impact TDS has made for your personally?

TDS has helped me understand that driving is a privilege that should be respected, because there are many causes to car crashes, one of them is being a distracted driver. It has also helped me take driving school very seriously because of my involvement with the organization.

What advice would you give to first time, teenage drivers?

Since, I am a teenager learning to drive, I would say, don’t be afraid to ask your parents or driving instructor any questions about driving, because they’re going to be driving on the same street as you one day. They would rather not get hit by you because of a question you were too nervous to ask and you left unanswered. Learning how to drive is like learning any other subject you have at school, except you’re risking the lives of others.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Live life to the fullest. Do what you need to do, to make sure that happens, including not getting into a car with someone who shouldn’t be driving.

Jessica SantibanezJessica Santibanez, Naaman Forest, Senior

What made you decide to become a part of Teens in the Driver Seat?

I’ve been involved with my school’s student council and Light Brigade program since my freshman year. My junior year I decided to apply for the Garland Youth Council and made it. Ms. [Dorothy] White sent us an email about applying to the Teens in the Driver Seat Advisory Board and I became really interested, because this is a big issue with teenagers in our society today.

What is the biggest impact TDS has made for you personally?

TDS has opened my eyes and my heart. It may seem easy to just grab your phone and read a “What’s Up?” text. In reality, this text isn’t worth your life. Not only will it affect you, but your family and friends.

What advice would you give to first time, teenage drivers?

When I began to drive, I was a little nervous. I feel that each time I drive, I hold a huge responsibility, especially if I have others in the car with me. Let your friends know that you care about them and make them buckle up because you want them to be safe. Also, don’t think it isn’t possible and say “that will never happen to me.” Don’t be scared, just have fun, but be safe all the time.

When you see someone texting while driving, what do you tell them?

“Put your phone up! Now!” My friends always laugh at me because they know I’m involved with TDS and a safety geek. They laugh, but they will put it up because they know that it’s dangerous. However, my close friends are cautious and have overcome their texting and driving habit.

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