On October 18, 2016, as part of National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 16-22), teen advocates of Teens in the Driver Seat® (TDS) and program staff launched Teen Driver, a new smartphone app created by MobiSoft Infotech, LLC. The launch was held at Creekview High School and highlighted the app’s functionality, as well as TDS’s 15-year record of making driving safer for teens across the United States.
TDS, a peer-to-peer teen driver safety program, brought together members of its own Teen Advisory Board, Creekview staff and representatives of Mobisoft to celebrate the launch of the app. Teen Driver helps teens drive safer by encouraging them to leave their phones alone while driving. A teen driver starts the app before a trip and—so long as they don’t access their cellphones while driving—logs undistracted miles at the end of the trip. Points are awarded based on such safely-driven miles. Teen drivers receive rewards, such as points toward the annual TDS Cup competition and gift cards, for successfully completing set thresholds.
Vehicle crashes are the #1 cause of teen injury and death in the nation. About 2,800 U.S. teens die each year in car crashes; that’s the equivalent of a school bus loaded with teenagers crashing once every week for an entire year. In a recent study of more than 1,200 teen drivers in three states by Aceable, a provider of driver education courses, teens reported 72 percent of their peers driving distracted; 43 percent of those texted while driving. A landmark research study published recently by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute—found that, on average, a texting driver takes their eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. At a speed of 50 mph, that’s like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
“That’s three out of every four drivers driving while distracted at least some of the time,” said Russell Henk, founder of TDS and manager of TTI’s Youth Transportation Safety Program. “During National Teen Driver Safety Week, it’s especially important to note that distracted driving is a big challenge for all of us—and we can do better.”
TDS educates teens about their five most dangerous driving risks, including distracted driving. In Texas alone, fatal crashes involving drivers aged 15 to 17 have dropped nearly 70 percent since the program’s inception—due, at least in part, to TDS’s statewide outreach. Working with partners like State Farm, the Texas Department of Transportation, and great partners in several other states (such as Colorado, Georgia and Nebraska) TDS has spread beyond the borders of the Lone Star State and now reaches some 1,000 schools and 1 million teens nationwide.
“As a father of a teen, a high school senior, this is the #1 thing we care about when our kids get behind the wheel,” said Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Steve Babick, speaking at the launch. “There are many adults who could take to heart the lessons you’re sharing today.”
The Teen Driver app is currently available in the Apple and Google Play app stores.
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About Teens in the Driver Seat®: Started in 2002, Teens in the Driver Seat is a peer-to-peer safety program that educates teens about the top five dangers of teen driving – driving at night; speeding and street racing; distractions, such as cell phones and teen passengers; not wearing a seat belt; and alcohol/drug use. Thanks to funding from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Colorado DOT, Georgia DOT, Nebraska Office of Highway Safety, Houston-Galveston Area Council and State Farm, program resources and technical support are available at no cost to schools in those noted states. For more information, please visit http://t-driver.com.