The U in the Driver Seat (UDS) Program at Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) held its annual U in the Driver Seat Symposium in Richardson, Texas, April 6-7, 2018. With the support of both public and private entities, the Symposium was available at no cost to over one hundred college-aged students representing ten different colleges from across Texas.
For the third year, UDS partnered with Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management (TEAM), a 501c(3) non-profit coalition recognized nationally for promoting responsible drinking at sports and entertainment events. TEAM sponsored a 60-second video challenge where college teams created PSAs to remind their peers to be mindful drivers. Watch the winning videos from the video challenge.
In 2017, there were 1,466 young drivers in Texas ages 18-24 killed in a car crash and hundreds more seriously injured.“The statewide statistics bear out that college-aged drivers are dying unnecessarily on Texas highways,” stated Russell Henk, program director of U in the Driver Seat and manager of TTI’s Youth Transportation Safety Program. “Our annual symposium informs students about how impairment can negatively impact their driving skills and aims to improve those statistics by changing behaviors.”
The symposium featured speakers, breakout sessions, and interactive activities targeted at convincing college-aged drivers around the state of Texas that they have the power to change risky driving behaviors — in effect, to save their own lives and the lives of other drivers and passengers on the road. Keynote speaker, Tyson Dever, shared his experience of being in a car crash and empowered youth not to be the cause, but to be the solution to end distracted driving.
With the generosity of our premier sponsor, State Farm, registration fees were waived for attendees and each campus that attended the entire Symposium received a travel stipend. To recognize schools for their active participation in the U in the Driver Seat program throughout the 2017-2018 school year, an awards dinner was held at the closing of the Symposium. Cash rewards, sponsored by State Farm, were presented to the top three schools, 1) Texas A&M Kingsville, 2) UT Arlington, and 3) UT San Antonio for the UDS Cup competition.