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Long ago being proud of what I was doing motivated me to want to join and become a part of the state professional association that represented my field. The ones of us formed a constitution (it is eight pages, single typed) and the preamble states what we try to do:

“We the instructors of driver and traffic safety in the state of South Carolina, in order that an association may serve as spokesperson for Driver and Traffic Safety Education, advance the cause of safety and education for all individuals; promote professional excellence among driver and traffic safety educators; gain recognition of the basic importance of the safety educator in the learning process; protect the rights of safety educators and advance their interests and welfare; hereby affirm and establish this constitution in order to fulfill an important need: to provide an organization whereby the ideals of good citizenship, driver and traffic safety education consciousness may be developed.”

Some purposes that we have identified as an association include to promote and advance all phases of driver and traffic safety education in K-12 schools, colleges, universities, and the general public in South Carolina; to promote solutions to the problems that are associated with the teaching of driver and traffic safety education; to promote cooperation with agencies in the interest of the teaching of driver and traffic safety to students in the state of South Carolina; and to stimulate general interest in the total problem of the conservation of human life, particularly as related to vehicular and pedestrian safety.

We constantly lobby the legislators for safety needs and much of the success for a SC texting law has been SCDTSEA's efforts for the last three or more years. SCDTSEA's grant proposal to have state-wide workshops for all driver educators by a national expert got turned down but it was for the interest of all driver educators in the state. SCDTSEA safety articles have been in some newspapers. We used to do a state-wide newsletter mailing, but now we are hiring a top-notch IT person to improve the SCDTSEA website so all colleagues can get useable things for their teaching, keep colleagues informed about the latest happenings in the state, etc. We used to have state-wide youth safety conferences for a weekend, but times have changed in allowing students to stay overnight. We used to have an Operation Driver Excellence Rodeo for all schools but a main sponsor got out of it. We are still hoping to get something like that going again. No doubt SCDMV having a commercial school representative from the various regions to go to Columbia and have input came from an idea from last year's SCDTSEA Conference with Captain McClary. We try to do interesting things like a state-wide safety poster contest. Of course, the SCDTSEA Conferences would not be a reality without SCDTSEA memberships.

During the SCDTSEA Conference we seek to have exhibitors for teachers, give awards of those we know have done outstanding work, have teaching materials such as DVDs, etc.

SCDTSEA seeks to represent our field in a professional way. I think joining one's professional organization means a lot, including caring for one's profession, sharing with colleagues, and giving of one's self. Another desire is to raise the status of our profession. Having and joining SCDTSEA helps to give a needed unified voice with which to speak to the state.

It helps to promote one's security and welfare. We did a lot to try and save driver education in the public high schools and it helped to keep from eliminating all programs.

Most professional organizations have a very high membership fee. We are probably the lowest in the nation. I hope that some of these thoughts will want you to become a member in SCDTSEA. Our Executive Committee now has more commercial school educators than high school educators.

Joe Sabbadino
Driving Educator
SCDTSEA Public Relations