Return to Headlines

Educating Student Drivers on the Dangers of Impaired Driving (3/24/17)

As a parent, I am in the process of administering the Texas Parent-Taught Driver Education Course to my 15-year-old daughter. According to the curriculum, here are some alarming facts regarding young drivers:

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15 to 20 year olds. (NHTSA, 2011)

  • The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16 to 19 year olds than any other age.

The FBISD Police Department has taken a more active approach to educating students on the dangers of impaired driving. Whether the impairment stems from a cell phone, alcohol or drugs, the consequences can be devastating. As adults and parents, we have a responsibility to have honest discussions about expectations concerning our students who drive, as well as those who are simply passengers in another student’s vehicle.


Trained FBISD officers have presented an impaired driving curriculum to over 1,000 students this semester. The lessons are interactive, fun and enlightening, although the message is serious. Impaired driving is dangerous and can change your life, and the lives of those around you, forever. Students must have a safety plan if they find themselves in a situation where they may choose to drive with an impairment or if they are a passenger in a car where the driver is impaired.


As parents, our first inclination is to tell our children not to drink and drive, or don’t pick up your phone while you are driving. That will work for some, but the reality is our children are tempted by peer pressure and at some point they may give in to having a drink. Parents and teens should have a safety plan in place so the child knows they can call a parent to come get them at any time.  As a parent, I may not like the fact that my child had to call me, but I would rather get my child home safely than have to watch them deal with an arrest or an accident.


I want to introduce you to Jamie Chapman. Jamie is a wonderful young man and a friend of mine. Jamie has partnered with our police department and speaks to student groups, sharing his story about how one decision to get behind the wheel – while impaired – changed his life and the life of his family. Jamie attended Austin High School where he was a three-sport athlete, and then he graduated in 2009. In 2011, Jamie drove his car after he had been drinking and crashed into a tree. Jamie’s mother, Katrina, is now his caretaker.   I would encourage every parent to watch the short video about Jamie that was produced by two Travis High School students. Please share the video with your teenagers and develop a safety plan. 


Help us educate teens on the dangers of impaired driving. 

Chief David Rider
Follow me on Twitter: @FBISDChiefRider