U in the Driver Seat (UDS) was created by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) in 2012 in an effort reduce the number of impaired driving injuries and deaths of college aged … More...
TTI’s Youth Transportation Safety (YTS) Program seeks to save lives and reduce injuries among America’s youth by developing and delivering the nation’s most comprehensive suite of transportation safety programs and projects. Founded on the Institute’s award-winning Teens in the Driver Seat® (TDS) program, current YTS initiatives include the following grassroots, peer-to-peer outreach programs:
- Teens in the Driver Seat: aimed at helping high school drivers form lifelong, safe driving habits while still gaining experience with the basics of being behind the wheel.
- Teens in the Driver Seat Junior High: targeting middle school students just beginning to learn driving behaviors from their older siblings and parents to become safety advocates as passengers.
- U in the Driver Seat: helping college-aged drivers learn to balance living on their own with managing life’s distractions, such as partying, which can lead to driving risks like impaired driving.
- U.S. in the Driver Seat: aimed at young soldiers returning to civilian life who might face personal challenges, such as post-deployment emotional trauma, which can increase risky driving behaviors.
- Smart Pedestrians: reaching out to young pedestrians who are often distracted (e.g., texting and walking), which can lead to risks around vehicles.
Modeling its other programs on TDS, YTS safety experts recruit, educate, and inspire young members of a community to engage their peers with safety messages and interactive programs that raise awareness of driving dangers and promote positive behavioral change. Educational materials—developed by YTS staff and focus-group tested with youth advisory boards—are provided free of charge to participating student teams and funded through a combination of public- and private-sector sponsorship, such as State Farm, with a vested interest in improving driver safety for all. Regular participant surveys and field observations provide for the data-driven improvement of program materials to maintain the most effective program possible for each group.