Article by Chris Sasser
TTI’s discussions with PAHO first began in 2007, when the organization expressed an interest in the Teens in the Driver Seat program. In April of that year, Transportation Commissioner Hope Andrade and Texas State Representative Patrick Rose joined PAHO officials at the State Capitol to hold a press conference in observance of Global Road Safety Week. Several discussions with PAHO since that time have resulted in the two organizations entering into a formal partnership agreement. Because vehicle crashes rank as the number-one cause of death for people under age 25 worldwide, PAHO has a strong interest in roadway safety improvements.
Road traffic crashes rank tenth on the major causes of death list, accounting for 1.2 million deaths worldwide, each year. According to WHO, “research suggests road deaths are increasing in most regions of the world and that if trends continue unabated, they will rise to an estimated 2.4 million a year by 2030.”
The two institutions will jointly pursue research and program opportunities related to roadway safety. The first venture will be to conduct a bi-national pilot project in which young drivers in Ciudad Juarez will be introduced to the Teens in the Driver Seat concept, with TDS students in El Paso being directly involved.
The formal agreement was signed by PAHO representatives Dr. Maria Teresa Cerqueira, Chief of the PAHO/WHO U.S. – Mexico Border Office, Dr. Eugenia Maria Rodrigues, PAHO/WHO Road Safety Advisor, and TTI Director Dr. Dennis Christiansen. Dr. Cerqueira, Dr. Rodrigues and Dr. Gustavo Iturralde, PAHO/WHO Health Promotion and Family Health Technical Officer, attended briefings on TTI research on a recent visit to the Institute.