TEXpress Lanes bring safe driving curriculum to high schools in North Texas
When it comes to keeping drivers safe on the road, any road for that matter, TEXpress Lanes start at the beginning. That would be teen drivers.
NOVEMBER 2023 – For the second time this year and the second year in a row, TEXpress Lanes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas partnered with the nonprofit Teens in the Driver Seat to bring distraction-free driving education to three additional high schools in the Birdville Independent School District in October during National Teen Driving Week.
Not only do good driving habits start early, but vehicle crashes are the number one cause of preventable death for teenagers in the U.S. If you include pedestrian and bicycle incidents, more than eight teenagers die every day, amounting to over 3,000 teen deaths a year.
“One of the most impactful investments we can make is in educating the newest and youngest drivers – our teens – about the importance of developing driving habits that will keep themselves, their passengers, other drivers, and workers along highway corridors safe,” says Robert Hinkle, TEXpress Lanes Communications and Corporate Affairs Director
Collaborating with Teens in the Driver Seat, they expanded their partnership to include Hang Up and Drive, the Texas Department of Transportation, North Central Texas Council of Governments, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and State Farm Insurance. Together, they held a three-day Safe Driving Fair involving a variety of simulator activities that enabled students to better understand what impaired driving feels like, how one split-second decision can change your life, and what they would experience if pulled over by police for a sobriety test
Amid the fun of wearing impaired googles and driving in a simulator, the event’s keynote speakers brought the sobering reality of the impact of impaired driving to the 2,000 students who attended over three days. Founders of Hang Up and Drive, Jacy Good and Steve Johnson, spoke about the evening a driver distracted by his cell phone caused a truck driver to swerve and hit Jacy’s vehicle head on, killing her parents and placing her in intensive care with a 10 percent chance of survival.
Part of the presentation included Hinkle leading student council members in the “Don’t Drive Distracted” pledge. Those student leaders then presented the pledge to not eat, text or telephone while driving to their peers.
“As a company that builds and maintains highways, we want to prepare the young drivers of tomorrow to drive safely on our roads,” says Jose Espinosa, CEO of TEXpress Lanes. “We started this program two years ago and hope to expand it across North Texas in the school districts where we already have education foundation partnerships. This is just one of the ways we give back to the community and make our roadways safer.”
About Teens in the Driver Seat®:
Started in 2002, Teens in the Driver Seat is a peer-to-peer safety program that educates and empowers teens to raise awareness about unsafe road user behavior like driving at night, speeding and street racing, not wearing a seat belt, impaired driving, and pedestrian and bicycle safety.