The Learn More About the Organization series is intended to educate the public about members of the Texas Impaired Driving Task Force. This week’s featured organization is Texans Standing Tall. Answers to the questions are provided by the organization.
Describe your work as it relates to combatting impaired driving in the state.
Texans Standing Tall (TST) is the statewide coalition committed to creating healthier and safer communities in which alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs have no place in the lives of youth. Because alcohol is the substance young people in Texas use the most, we focus on preventing underage drinking and the negative consequences – like impaired driving – associated with it.
Sadly, young drivers account for a large number of impaired driving crashes and deaths. Yet, despite the serious consequences, young people continue to drink and drive – 9% of Texas high school seniors drive a car at least once a year after drinking. The problem only worsens once young people reach college, where 18% of Texas students drive after drinking at least once a month.
Our prevention approach involves strategies and programs that reduce underage and risky drinking through community-wide change. By decreasing young people’s access to and use of alcohol, we can decrease the number impaired drivers on the road and the associated crashes. As a result, we are creating healthier and safer communities for all Texans.
Describe your program.
To decrease the number of impaired drivers on the road, Texans Standing Tall implements several prevention strategies geared towards reducing youth access to alcohol and creating environments where young people are better able to make healthy choices. We have several programs geared towards:
- Reducing young people’s ability to get alcohol socially. This includes training police officers in Controlled Party Dispersal techniques and helping communities with civil social host ordinances that hold property owners responsible for allowing underage drinking parties to occur on their property.
- Decreasing alcohol outlet density. Since a higher number of outlets in an area results in more problems, our goal is to decrease the concentration of outlets in order to decrease community problems.
- Motivating college students to change their risky drinking behaviors. This includes training and working with college campuses to implement Screening and Brief Intervention as a prevention tool.
- Increasing collaboration among organizations. Bringing together groups with common goals of reducing underage drinking and impaired driving will help us leverage resources to address the problem.
- Providing training and support to youth and adults. We offer trainings and technical assistance on a variety of topics that help individuals and organizations implement prevention strategies in their local communities.
Because youth are crucial stakeholders in preventing underage alcohol use and impaired driving, TST also created the Youth Leadership Council (YLC), made up of 15-20 young Texans from across the state. As rising leaders in prevention, this group plays a critical role in all of TST’s activities. Throughout the year, TST works with YLC members to develop their community leadership, public speaking, and program implementation skills. In doing so, we are creating a generation of current and future leaders working to prevent underage drinking and impaired driving in their communities.
How does being a member of the Texas Impaired Driving Task Force enhance the work you’re doing?
Participating in the Texas Impaired Driving Task Force allows us to connect with a variety of organizations and institutions throughout the state that are working towards a common goal. Though we may have different areas of focus, we can come together through the Task Force and leverage our resources to address impaired driving issues in Texas.
What would you like the public to know about impaired driving?
Impaired driving is 100% preventable. Youth and young adults are big contributors to impaired driving crashes in our state – keeping alcohol out of the hands of those underage puts a significant dent in the problem. Research says the most effective way to do this is through population-based (environmental) prevention strategies, yet they are the least utilized means of prevention. For example, raising alcohol excise taxes by a dime a drink results in 112 fewer impaired driving deaths every year in Texas. If we combine our strengths and work together as a community to address the issue, we can drastically reduce the number of innocent victims whose lives are instantly changed because someone else decided to drive impaired. Texans Standing Tall is working hard to implement these types of prevention strategies in Texas and hope you’ll join us in our efforts!
What would you like the public to know about your program?
In addition to helping protect young people’s individual futures, our work to prevent youth use of alcohol and other drugs also has several positive public health impacts in Texas. Our prevention efforts can help reduce:
- Impaired driving rates
- Deaths due to traffic crashes, homicides, alcohol abuse, and suicide
- The number of babies born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
- Teen pregnancies
- Alcohol dependence or abuse
- Physical and sexual assaults
- High school and college dropout rates
- Binge drinking and heavy alcohol use
Though we focus primarily on youth substance use prevention, we strongly recognize the interconnectedness of different public health issues and believe our work is most effective when we come together with others to address issues more holistically. We are always ready and willing to partner with others to help create healthy, safe communities throughout the state!
Do you have any upcoming events?
We host trainings on several topics throughout the state on an ongoing basis. To learn more or request a training, please contact Georgianne Crowell via email or 512.442.7501.
Texans Standing Tall’s Advocacy Day
February 19, 2019
First Baptist Church of Austin | 901 Trinity Street | Austin, TX 78701
Advocacy Day is an exciting opportunity to network with other professionals and use your advocacy skills to help create safe and healthy communities throughout Texas. On Tuesday, February 19, 2019, join us for a day of prevention and education advocacy training with experts, followed by a visit to the Capitol to let your voice be heard.
Texans Standing Tall’s Statewide Summit
April 10 – 11, 2019
Austin Marriott South | 4415 South IH 35 | Austin, TX 78744
Texans Standing Tall’s Summit is a two-day event that brings together national and state experts, the TST Youth Leadership Council, and you, working to create local and statewide change. Through keynote presentations, breakout sessions, and networking with fellow community members, learn more about what you can do to help create healthier and safer environments for our youth.
For registration information or other questions, contact us at [email protected] or 512.442.7501.