With the last 15 years of his professional career dedicated to the safety of teen drivers and their passengers, Russell Henk, senior research engineer with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), has been named chairperson of Texas’ Teen Safe Driving Coalition — a partnership led by the National Safety Council.
Henk is the program manager of the Youth Transportation Safety Program in TTI’s Center for Transportation Safety. He created the award-winning Teens in the Driver Seat® (TDS) program in 2002, which is a peer-to-peer driver safety program that has reached nearly 1,000 Texas schools and has grown to 38 other states. TDS is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year.
“TTI’s Youth Transportation Safety Program and the Texas Teen Safe Driving Coalition have many of the same goals, so this chairmanship is a special honor for me,” Henk says. “I have worked with most of the members of the coalition for many years — and they are all dedicated to making teen safety a priority in our state.”
The National Safety Council has established Teen Safe Driving Coalitions in ten states. The goal of the coalition is “to establish a culture of safe teen driving based on proven principles of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL).” The Texas Teen Safe Driving Coalition began in 2010.
“As chair, I’d like to continue to expand the coalition’s membership and further develop a spirit of collaboration among the various traffic safety programs around the state to enhance our collective positive impact,” Henk says. “I believe there are a lot of opportunities for us to work together on this important mission.