A unique element of the Teens in the Driver Seat (TDS) program since its inception has been a voluntary and anonymous survey that is provided to every program school, with the exception of Nebraska schools, who conducts their own survey. This survey assesses student awareness of the top driving risks that young people face during the early stages of driving, as well as self-reported driving behavior. Having been conducted for a decade, this survey database is the largest data set of its kind in the nation. The current version of the survey has been in place since the 2007-2008 school year.
Each year, an important task is to take advantage of this valuable set of rich data and conduct a year-over-year comparison of TDS program schools. Schools were selected for this analysis based upon the following general criteria:
- They began the TDS Program during the 2007-2008 school year (or shortly thereafter);
- They have participated regularly (year-over-year) in the TDS Program since that time;
- They had recently completed the same survey (during either the 2013-2014 school year or the year prior – during the 2015-2016 school year in most cases); and
- Survey data collected represented a reasonable sample size in relation to their student population.
This approach provided a snapshot of risk awareness and self-reported driving behavior at both an early stage of (or perhaps even pre-) TDS program deployment and the current school year. The seven high schools that met these criteria are: Bandera High School (Bandera, TX), Bronte High School (Bronte, TX), Chisum High School (Paris, TX), Cy Falls High School (Houston, TX), Creekview High School (Carrollton, TX), Jefferson-Silva High School (El Paso, TX), and Vidal M. Trevino School of Communication and Art (Laredo, TX). These schools provide a diverse set of TDS program schools in terms of both geographic location (see Figure 1) and school size. Five (5) are considered large urban schools, while three (3) are small rural schools.
Data from these schools were aggregated for this analysis, and data summaries are included within Table 1. As noted therein, these TDS program schools collectively exhibit double-digit levels of percentage improvement in nearly every key area of risk awareness and self-reported driving behavior – the exception being the issue of driving under the influence of alcohol. While an improvement has been accomplished (and maintained for several years now), this topic shows the least amount of improvement and warrants special attention as the program moves forward.
With distracted driving, and particularly “texting and driving” on the increase amongst the general population of teens, the relative percentage improvement of nearly 20 % (net and over 50 % relative improvement) for that risky behavior is particularly encouraging.
In summary, the consistent (across all risk areas) and noteworthy levels of improvement suggest that TDS is having a positive influence among teens at schools where the program has longevity and consistent activity. While the general levels of improvement over time are positive, there is still substantial room for improving upon this progress.
Figure 1. Multi-Year TDS Program Schools with Pre- and Post-Survey Data
n = 1,075
n = 1,267
|Percentage of Students Able to Cite 3 or More Top Risks||48.0||52.6||+ 4.6||9.6 %|
|% Driving “a lot” after 10 p.m. without anyone over 21 years old||55.1||27.8||– 27.3||49.6 %|
|% Texting while driving “a lot”||33.9||14.7||– 19.2||56.6 %|
|% Driving 10+ mph over the posted speed limit “a lot”||29.1||20.5||– 8.6||29.6 %|
|% Drivers not wearing a seat belt “a lot”||11.4||5.6||– 5.8||50.9 %|
|% Never drinking and driving||80.1||83.0||+ 2.9||3.6 %|
 Data shown reflect averages from 8 different high schools in Texas (see Figure 1 for details) that have multi-year involvement in the TDS Program and have completed surveys on multiple occasions.
 “Pre-TDS” reflects the earliest completed survey; typically 2007-2008 school year; data shown are for all 8 high schools combined.
 “Post-TDS” reflects the most recent survey completed; typically 2015-2016 school year; data shown are for all 8 high schools combined.