With April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, there was no better time for the LBJ/NTE/NTE 35W TEXpress Lanes to partner with Teens in the Driver Seat on promoting teen driver safety.
Texas teen drivers have been involved in more fatal motor vehicle accidents than teens in any other state. For the most recent decade reported, there were 2,318 deaths on Texas roadways involving teen drivers, with the 100 deadliest days for teen driving fatalities occurring between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Nearly a quarter of all vehicle crashes in Texas in 2021 involved a teen driver.
Our concessions partnered with Texas A&M University’s Texas Transportation Institute, Teens in the Driver Seat® (TDS) and Keller Independent School District to host two assemblies at Keller High School featuring crash survivor Tyson Dever, with nearly 1,000 students in attendance. The following day, our concessions, TDS, and the Keller High Student Council coordinated a safety fair for all 3,000 high school students.
“For our projects, safety is our highest priority,” said Jose Espinosa, CEO of the LBJ, NTE & NTE 35W TEXpress Lanes. “Teenagers new to driving are a key part of the solution. We are honored to partner with Teens in the Driver Seat to play a small, yet important, role in helping young drivers understand the importance of developing safe driving habits. Our goal is to help create an environment of safe driving for all motorists on all roadways across North Texas. Don’t be the cause, be the solution. Don’t drive distracted.”
TDS, which was launched in 2002, is a peer-to-peer safety program for new and young drivers that focuses solely on traffic safety and addresses all major risks for this age group. The success of the program relies heavily on student involvement and the personal testimony of Tyson Dever, a motivational speaker and author, who openly talks about his life-changing vehicle accident. “I’m in a wheelchair because of a distracted driver,” he said at the Keller High event. “If my story can help them stay distraction free behind the wheel, then it’s all worth it.”
In addition to Tyson sharing his experience and life journey, Keller High Student Council members Cameron Killian, Kamree Gregory and Tarra Shamsipour led a verbal pledge of all participants to not drive distracted. The following day, the student council members helped coordinate a safety fair that included several interactive stations, including a distracted pedestrian obstacle course, impaired simulation goggles and sobriety test, and a banner for students to sign pledging their commitment to driving without distractions.
“The student involvement is so critical in the success of this program, and I couldn’t be prouder of the work these students did to make these events so impactful,” said Robert Hinkle, Corporate Affairs Director for the concessions. “If teen drivers see their friends talking about and taking safety more seriously, then they will follow. It’s about them holding each other accountable and keeping themselves, their friends and family, and other motorists safe on the road. That’s a win for all of us,” he added.
The TEXpress concessions hope to expand the TDS program across North Texas and coordinate at least two events a year, focusing on school districts and their education foundations with which they already partner. They also want to encourage peer companies in the industry to take up the cause: “If we combine our resources and networks, we can eventually reach every new driver in our region, and truly impact safety on the road with our efforts,” said Andy Nguyen, LBJ Head of Marketing.
“For TEXpress, safety is our highest priority, period,” said Ruben Roman, TEXpress Deputy CEO. “Teens are a key part of the solution, so we are committed to helping young drivers understand the importance of developing safe driving habits from the very beginning of their driving experiences. We want to elevate safety for all motorists on all of Texas’ roadways.”