The Teens in the Driver Seat program may have gotten its start in Texas, but one of the best examples of TDS is almost 2,000 miles away from where everything began. The high school teams from Bristol Eastern and Bristol Central have been setting great examples since they started in the fall of 2008.
Their list of activities is one of the longest anywhere. Here are a few highlights:
- Spreading safe driving messages with their annual Thanksgiving Day football game and the parade held before the game.
- Conducting checkpoints and surveys near the schools to determine how many people use their seat belt.
- Using activities like pep rallies to score multiple appearances on network television stations.
- Recruiting sophomore students to make sure the teams have new members and new ideas after they see their seniors graduate.
- Each of the two schools making a paper chain with 3,000 links, then putting the chains together to make 6,000 links, signifying the number of teens who die in crashes every year across the nation.
- Reaching out in their community to help start TDS at another school – St. Paul Catholic School in Bristol.
- Helping out with a pasta dinner fundraiser to benefit a local family who lost a teenage son in a crash.
- Being photographed in their TDS shirts in front of Mark Twain’s house and ESPN headquarters in Connecticut, and in front of the White House in Washington, D.C.
- Collecting donations from local insurance companies to help fund their activities.
- Speaking to driver education classes as representatives of the TDS program.
The list goes on and on. The two teams meet every month at a local coffee shop to create new ideas, with some help from Kim Hazelton, their faculty sponsor, and Officer Brad Shaffrick of the Bristol Police Department. Congratulations, Bristol Central and Bristol Eastern, for making two of the best TDS programs anywhere!