Channelview High School, in Channelview, Texas, is the first Houston area school to start the Teens in the Driver Seat program. A press conference, which was rescheduled twice due to Hurricanes Gustav and Ike last fall, announced the launch of the program on Wednesday.
Kayla Mizell, Kellie Denison and Danielle Thibodeaux, student leaders from Channelview High School, led the press conference and announced the findings of an assessment done by the Texas Transportation Institute, which found the following:
- Only about one percent of teens statewide and locally regard nighttime driving as risky, and about 30 percent of them routinely drive after 10 p.m.
- Half of the Channelview students recognize that speeding is dangerous, but 20 percent of them say they speed frequently.
- Two-thirds of Channelview students recognize that talking or texting on a cell phone while driving is dangerous, but nearly 20 percent said they frequently do so anyway.
Danielle said, “The problem has become an epidemic across America. Effective laws and driver training are important, but they are not enough. We can’t reverse this deadly trend without positive peer pressure; that’s the idea behind Teens in the Driver Seat.”
Kayla, who first learned of TDS at the Texas Association of Student Councils convention last spring, said the biggest reason why young people die in car crashes is lack of experience, combined with the top five dangers for young drivers.
The students said they have been putting up fliers, drawing chalk outlines of people in the student parking lot, and wearing their TDS shirts so people will ask us about what they’re doing.
Kellie said, “We’re making sure that the messages are coming from us, so that our friends and classmates really listen and understand.”
View the Channelview High School showcase page for more information about their ongoing efforts.