Don't Drive Distracted

Girls on Fence

For the past nine years, NEISD PTSA volunteer Melinda Cox has spent hundreds of hours inspiring students at Johnson High School to change the culture of distracted driving. She teaches students they can make a difference and that they have a civic duty to engage with the world around them. Through the years, the influence of the JHS Smart Driving club has increased, culminating in a competition this month through the SAFE 2 SAVE program that rewards drivers for their safe driving behaviors.  


NEISD will partner with University Health to sponsor a safe driving competition between district faculty and the families of NEISD’s more than 68,000 students. Along with bragging rights and a trophy, winners will earn special privileges. Those who use the SAFE 2 SAVE app to keep their driving scores above 90 will qualify for weekly cash drawings. Every participant who downloads the app and enters RAH into the access code will automatically earn 500 reward points – the equivalent of a free sandwich at a local restaurant! 


While the student drivers at the district’s seven high schools are a primary focus of the SAFE 2 SAVE competition, Melinda believes it is never too early to plant seeds of safe driving expectations in the minds of their younger siblings. 


This is the second time NEISD has participated in a SAFE 2 SAVE competition. “We want these things to be as common as homecoming because this is not going away,” Melinda said. “Everyone has a phone, and most people drive. We’ve made tremendous strides with drinking and driving, and thousands upon thousands of lives have been saved with seat belts. I appreciate these competitions where we can all come together on the same page.”


Melinda, who also serves as North East ISD Council of PTA’s Healthy Lifestyles Chair, founded the JHS Smart Driving Club when her oldest child got behind the wheel in 2012. Since that time, club members have been recognized on the floor of the Texas House for their work promoting the statewide hands free law during the 2017 legislative session, designed educational signs displayed citywide and appeared in City Council public service announcements. Most recently, club officers presented to the Texas Association of School Board Members, putting the kids and their efforts in front of every single district in Texas. 


“We are all in this together  —it can’t be one club, or one app — it only takes one drunk person, one distracted person to wipe out an entire family,” Melinda added. “It is a habit to break.”