Change Maker: Tristan

Tristan

“Change starts with one person and can grow really fast.”

Tristan — Advocate for Preventing Distracted Driving

We spoke with Tristan in November 2014.

Tristan, 19, is the youngest licensed professional racecar driver in the country. He started the Dnt txt n drV Foundation in 2014 after spending three years advocating against distracted driving and working to raise awareness to prevent texting while driving.

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I am a 19-year-old professional racecar driver for Mazda Motorsports. Because of my unique occupation, I am able to spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving all across the country. I give presentations at schools in the cities where I race. During 2014, I spoke to almost 50,000 students!

When I was 15 years old, I was riding in the car with my mother, who was texting and driving. After several instances of texting while driving, my mother nearly crashed into the back of someone. I knew at that moment that I had to do something to change people’s actions. Change starts with knowledge and the empowerment to share that knowledge with others. Having spoken to thousands of my peers over the years, I have found that change starts with one person and can grow really fast.

It’s unfortunate that much of the change in perceptions about drunk driving, seat belts, and now distracted driving is most influenced by gruesome images and videos of what can happen. I am trying to get to people BEFORE something bad happens. The impact is far-reaching in that we can save lives. To say the least, my mom doesn’t text and drive anymore. Perhaps I saved her life — maybe even my own!

After three years advocating against distracted driving and working to raise awareness to prevent texting while driving, I started the Dnt txt n drV Foundation. The Dnt txt n drV Foundation raises awareness and creates exposure about the issue through my professional autoracing career and my efforts to communicate the dangers of distracted driving. The Foundation plans to hold a series of fundraising events to raise capital to support grant and scholarship programs for schools and students who are working to make a difference in their communities to stop texting while driving. You can learn more about what you can do at www.DnttxtndrVFoundation.org.