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 began enlisting the help of many dedicated students to create a program that actually worked.
By evaluating every aspect of this idea 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 know 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 its members to make use of its services if needed. After almost one year of research and promotions, CARPOOL finally began operations 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 began answering phones and helping work out the fine details of our operations. When the night was over 36 rides were given, an amazing success for a brand new program.
Soon CARPOOL came to realize that they had built trust with the community and the students. As awareness grew, so too did the number of rides. 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 previously known program in the nation. We encourage the expansion of CARPOOL and its ideals, and hope to help start and learn from other safe ride programs across the country.