For most teens, the period from Memorial Day to Labor Day represents summer fun and a break from school and homework. Sadly, it’s earned another distinction as the “100 Deadliest Days” of the year for teen drivers.
According to AAA, more than 1,050 people were killed in crashes involving a teen driver in 2016 between Memorial Day and Labor Day. That is an average of 10 people per day. In 2016, there were 112,000 motor vehicle crashes in Harris County alone, more than double any other county in Texas. More than 14,000 of those collisions involved distracted driving.
In advance of July 4, one of the busiest trauma days of the year, the Red Duke Trauma Institute at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and the Houston Fire Department hosted an event to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. The event showcased the Live Your DREAMS (Distraction Reduction Among Motivated Students) program, complete with distracted and impaired driving simulators as well as a virtual reality experience.
Teaching Teens to Make Safer Choices Behind the Wheel
Live Your DREAMS utilizes evidence-based primary prevention education to empower teenagers to make safe choices while driving. Each level of the program varies in intensity: community and school-based awareness events, hospital-based prevention programs and in-depth workshops.
Community organizations and high schools in Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Montgomery and Waller counties are eligible to participate at the level that best fits the needs of program participants. Red Duke Trauma Institute and its community partners provide all resources necessary for each level of the program.
Toron Wooldridge, EdD, was present at a recent event to share a personal story involving his two younger sisters who lost their lives to distracted driving
On March 20, 2016, Brianna Robinson, 19, and Jade Robinson, 17, were gone in the blink of an eye following a crash caused by distracted driving. Four young women were in the vehicle, returning home from Corpus Christi during a Spring Break trip. The driver of the vehicle was distracted by something on her phone. During that time, she veered into oncoming traffic, hitting an 18-wheeler. Brianna and Jade, who were passengers in the car, were killed along with one other girl.
“This is a pain no other family should have to endure, and at the same time, it is a pain that could have been prevented,” said Dr. Wooldridge. “As an educator, I’ve learned as a building principal that students and teens must be consistently educated on the dangers of distracted driving. The Live Your DREAMS program with Memorial Hermann and the Houston Fire Department allows me to share this message with teenagers throughout the school year. It’s a painful subject for me, but I am able to focus on the message and that is what pushes me to interact with these teens on a monthly basis.”
Since Live Your DREAMS was established in 2014, it has reached 19,400 teens and parents at more than 40 schools in the Greater Houston area. For more information on the program, click here.