This Living Local segment is sponsored by Children’s of Alabama, Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham, and Trip Lab.

According to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, car crashes are the leading cause of death in people between the ages of five and 24. Teenagers hold the responsibility for the majority of those crashes, which is why UAB is on a mission to keep young drivers and those around them safe. 

Under the direction of Dr. Despina Stavrinos, UAB’s TRIP Lab, which stands for the translational research for injury prevention laboratory, houses a driving simulator used to study how teenagers react to hazardous situations. The simulator, a 2016 Honda Pilot, is a fully immersive, state-of-the-art simulator featuring a fully functional steering wheel, throttle, brake, gear selector, turn signals, and dashboard. 

“We often have schools bring in students through trips and interact with the simulator to learn more about how we are using that for research,” said Stavrinos. “We also have a portable version of it that we take into the community.”

The TRIP Lab partners with schools in the area. To learn more about how to get involved to keep teenagers and those around them safe, visit

In addition to UAB’s TRIP Lab, Children’s of Alabama is also on a mission to keep young drivers safe behind the wheel through great educational resources.

“One of them is our website, which has a parent contract, as well as the graduated drivers license law,” said Safe Kids Alabama Coalition Director Marie Crew. 

A school-based program called UR KEYS 2 DRV (Your Keys to Drive), which is funded by State Farm Insurance, is back in schools this year. 

“We go into the school or have an event at a venue such as a civic center where we bring children in,” said Crew. “It’s an all-day event with a keynote speaker and breakout sessions that talk about safe teen driving.”

Students leave with a pledge to share the message with peers. To learn more about getting involved, visit