On October 23, 1997, Jeff Schiefelbein received a DWI in College Station and began an 18-month probation sentence. After losing his license and doing 60 hours of community service, Schiefelbein was required to appear at a Mother’s Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact panel at which he heard the story of a woman and her daughter’s death in high school. On this date, November 11, 1998, Schiefelbein was inspired by this story to begin a program that his friends and the Aggie community could rely on when out for a night of partying. When his ride came to the courthouse to pick him up that night, he sat down in the car and his first words were, “I’m going to start the best designated driver program in the country.” From that moment on, Schiefelbein enlisted the help of many dedicated students to create a program that actually worked.
By evaluating every aspect of the program for the next 8 months, Schiefelbein and his team created a program that made sense and that students considered the “cool” thing to do. CARPOOL immediately vowed to never preach to students about drinking but to accept everyone and let them understand that CARPOOL is here to help. They believed that the education process should be done outside of the car and in a more effective manner. In fact, CARPOOL encouraged the use of its service by its own members if they are ever in need. After almost one year of research and promotions, CARPOOL finally began on September 16, 1999 at 10 pm. The very first ride ever was called in from the Texas Hall of Fame, and the drivers for Car 1 were Suzy Trainer and Evan Campbell. The night went well and soon everyone was busy. Student Body President, Will Hurd, had come to visit that night and was soon answering phones and helping work out the fine details of our operations. When the night was over, the final count was 36 rides, an amazing success for a first time ever program.
Soon the CARPOOL crew came to realize that they had built the trust of the community and the students. As the awareness grew, so too did the numbers. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to give over 250 rides in one night, sometimes over 500 on football weekends. CARPOOL is now giving an average of 650 rides per weekend. Other schools caught on to this amazing concept and ever since, CARPOOL has attempted to inform as many people as possible about the program. In the spring of 2000, CARPOOL received an award for Outstanding Achievement for a New Committee by the Association of Former Students and Class Councils. Schiefelbein also received the Award for the best Individual Contribution to Campus for his work on CARPOOL.
CARPOOL is a completely unique program and was not modeled after any known program in the nation. We encourage the expansion of CARPOOL and its ideals. We also hope to help start other programs around the country as well as learn from them.