Three companies invest in TRIP Lab outreach efforts

UAB’s TRIP Lab was awarded $125,000 in grants from Blue Cross Blue Shield, Honda and State Farm to continue educating young drivers across the state of Alabama.

Written by: Chris McCauley
Media contact: Alicia Rohan

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Translational Research for Injury Prevention Lab recently received grants from three companies — Blue Cross Blue Shield, Honda and State Farm.

The grants total $125,000 and will help expand the TRIP Lab’s Community Outreach Program for Teen Drivers. Through the program, members of the TRIP Lab travel to schools and educate students on the dangers of distracted driving using a portable driving simulator.

The mission of the outreach program is to create safer and more educated communities by training young drivers.

“Previously, our outreach funding restricted us to serving only the Birmingham metro area,” said Despina Stavrinos, Ph.D., director of the TRIP Lab and associate professor in the Department of Psychology. “Now, with these additional funds from Blue Cross Blue Shield, Honda and State Farm, we will be able to deliver our program and educate students across the state.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the TRIP Lab team created a virtual version of the program available via Zoom sessions and YouTube videos. The Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham currently supports the program through a generous grant, which helps the TRIP Lab reach students across Central Alabama.  

“I am tremendously thankful for the support of our community partners,” Stavrinos said. “Perhaps one of my favorite parts of what I do is getting into the community and seeing the fruits of our research labor put into action to make a difference in the lives of young drivers.” 

With the new additional resources, the virtual program has the potential to reach more schools and students across the state, including in rural areas. 

The UAB TRIP Lab was established in 2009 by Stavrinos. The mission of the lab is “to help the nation achieve a significant reduction in the rate of transportation-related deaths, injuries and resulting disabilities, particularly in the southeastern United States.”