Teen R.I.D.E.: Reality Intensive Driver Education

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 16- to 20-year-olds, killing 6,000 teens annually. The UMass Memorial Injury Prevention Center has developed a unique day-long, interactive and highly realistic experience for teens to reduce teen traffic injuries and deaths. 

This program is an educational intervention developed in collaboration with the Worcester District Juvenile Court. Teens convicted of first-time motor vehicle offenses have been ordered by the court to attend the program as a condition for their probation. Typically 13 to17 years of age, these teens have been arrested for serious driving infractions – excessive speeding, evading the police, recklessness, driving without a license, or driving under the influence of illegal substances.  

Each program is staffed by volunteer nurses, physicians, occupational therapists, physical therapists, social workers, medical students, former trauma patients and representatives of the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts.  

During the day-long program, teens attend several lectures about driving risks, motor vehicle accidents and the traumatic, lifelong injuries that can result. Participants view a compelling video before touring the UMass Memorial Medical Center (including emergency, trauma and rehabilitation areas). A brain-injury survivor also addresses the teens to describe life after his/her accident.

Our research suggests that recidivism rates for driving offenses for Teen RIDE participants appear to be approximately 7 percent, well below that of teens with similar offenses who have not participated in the UMass Memorial program. 

In addition to the court-mandated program, UMass Memorial Injury Prevention Center also holds pre-prom assemblies at various high schools in Massachusetts. Prom is an exciting night of celebration for high school students, but one that can turn dangerous as teen drive recklessly and make bad driving choices. Our pre-prom assemblies are designed to educate teens about the dangers of driving intoxicated. 

Watch this video to learn more:

For more information about Teen R.I.D.E. please contact us at injuryprevention@umassmemorial.org.