The History of Teens in the Driver Seat®
This year, Teens in the Driver Seat celebrates its 15-year anniversary and will provide more than 350 schools with the opportunity to provide empowering, results-driven community service to help make roads safer across the United States. Our hope is to continue to leverage the influence peers have with each other to increase awareness of the primary teen driving risks and encourage safer driving behaviors.
Before our program existed, I can still remember watching news coverage of numerous fatal teen car crashes in our community, then looking upon my own children (who were too young to drive at the time) and imagining how difficult it was for those parents to lose their child so prematurely. It was heart-breaking, gut wrenching and drove the young traffic engineer in me to action. After digging deeper into the data and realizing that car crashes were (and still are) the leading cause of injury and death for teens, I knew we had to do more. I also knew that “more of the same” solutions was not going to put a meaningful dent in this huge problem, so we set out to do something innovative as well – getting the students themselves integrally involved in the solution and giving this issue non-stop attention.
The past fifteen years have been focused on building the foundation of the program to promote community service, leadership, sustainability, creativity and impact, with teens right there in the driver seat with us as collaborators and contributors every step along the way.
In spite of many challenges through the years, we have been fortunate to establish partnerships with many local and national organizations over the past fifteen years. It is with great pleasure that I share an exciting new development (and partner) in our program’s progression. Thanks in great part to the Texas A&M Foundation, the Youth Transportation Safety Program at TTI now has 501(c)(3) designation. I invite you to learn more about the history of our program in this 15th Anniversary Report Card and to consider supporting our efforts so that we may continue to help make teens safer drivers and to reach their full potential.
Youth Transportation Safety Program Director