News & Articles

2020 Ashley R. Thompson Memorial Scholarship awarded

Benjamin Leese, 2020 Scholarship Winner  

We are pleased to announce the 2020 Ashley Renee Thompson Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to Benjamin Leese from South County High School in Lorton, VA.

Benjamin was selected from a large applicant pool of very talented and amazing high school seniors.

Benjamin's video on how to encourage his peers to be safer drivers and smarter passengers was very unique in that he did all the art work you see in the video!

Ben's amazing accomplishes, stellar work ethic, academic accomplishes and community service made him the perfect choice to receive Ashley's scholarship!

We would like to mention just a few.
Ben was awarded Fairfax County Human Rights and Equity Program Art Contest, he attended the elite Governor's School Leadership Program for Visual Arts and received the Foreign Service Youth Foundation award in Art.

The foundation wishes Ben all the best as he sets off to Bowling Green State University this fall .

May 1st, 2019 The ART of Driving will be at the Gainsville/Haymarket Rotary Club.

Gainsville/Haymarket Rotary Club

Founder, Robin Thompson will be key note speaker.
14675 Piedmont Vista Drive
Haymarket, VA 20169
7:30 a.m. — 8:30 a.m.

2018 Ashley R. Thompson Memorial Scholarship awarded

Louise Hicks, 2018 Scholarship Winner

Pictured here with Louise is The ART of Driving's director, Robin Thompson.


We are pleased to announce the 2018 Ashley Renee Thompson Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to Louise Hicks from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, VA.

Louise was selected from a large applicant pool of very talented and amazing high school seniors.

Louise’s video on how to encourage her peers to be safer drivers and smarter passengers stood out.

Louise’s amazing accomplishes, stellar work ethic and compassion made her the perfect choice to receive Ashley’s scholarship!

The foundation wishes Louise all the best as she sets off to the University of Pittsburgh this fall .

Congratulations Louise!

Robin Thompson was a guest at On Call™ with Wendy Wiese

Robin Thompson - Teenagers and Driving

Listen to the audio stream below by clicking the "stream" link or download the MP3 with a right-click (or on Mac Control-click) and select "Save target as" (Internet Explorer) or "Save link As" (FireFox) or "Download linked file" (Safari).

http://relevantradio.streamguys.us/OC Archive/OC20161010.mp3

Robin Thompson was a guest at Hooray For Books

Founder and CEO Robin Thompson was a guest at Hooray For Books in Old Town Alexandria, VA.

Founder and CEO Robin Thompson was a guest at Hooray For Books in Old Town, Alexandria VA.

She shared the enchanting tale, How The Firefly Got Its Name, with children and parents alike!
Ashley, her daughter, wrote the fable when she was only twelve years old.
All sales go to The ART of Driving, the outreach program of the Ashley Renee Thompson Memorial Foundation.
Not only did children love hearing the wonderful tale of Hermi, the little Firefly, but parents learned the importance of modeling safe driving practices to their children at a young age.
It's never to early to model safe driving!

Order your copy through the foundation, Amazon or your local bookstore.

2016 Ashley R. Thompson Memorial Scholarship awarded

Meron Abraham, 2016 Scholarship Winner

Pictured here with Meron is The ART of Driving's director, Robin Thompson.

We are pleased to announce the 2016 Ashley Renee Thompson Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to Meron Abraham, from Robert E. Lee High School in Springfield, VA. Meron was selected from a large applicant pool of very talented and amazing high school seniors. Meron's video on teen driving, however, stood out. Click the link on our homepage to watch her video on safe teen driving. The foundation wishes Meron all the best as she sets off to Virginia Tech this fall. Congratulations Meron!

Please help us continue this scholarship by your generous contributions. You can make tax free contributions via our web site. We warmly thank you in advance.

Manassas Reads

Manassas Reads Manassas Reads

The foundation had a wonderful time sharing Ashley's book with all the children at the Manassas Reads event on April 23rd.

They so enjoyed How The Firefly Got Its Name being read to them by founder and director, Robin Thompson.



Thank you to NBC Washington and Pat Lawson Muse for helping spread the word about The ART of Driving's mission to keep all children safe on our nations roads.
We enjoyed taping a segment for Viewpoint which aired Sunday, March 27th.
A big thank you to Brian Thompson and Jeanne Martin for their assistance in the segment and with The ART of Driving!
Click on the tab to watch the segment!

Winter Driving Safety Tips For Teens

Driving in winter weather can be challenging for the most experienced drivers, but for the novice teen driver even more so. The ART of Driving is dedicated to keeping our teen drivers safe on our roads; in all conditions.

Teen drivers need to learn how to safely navigate ice, snow and wet roads. However, that should be with an experienced driver by their side. We believe in increased supervised driving time for our teens and adverse driving conditions need to be included in that experience. They need to learn to drive in these conditions, but they need you with them during this learning phase.

Keep in mind that our teen drivers have difficulty recognizing hazards; this makes winter driving even more difficult for them. The ART of Driving has put together the following tips to get your teen ready for the sleet and snow.

Make sure the car they are driving is "winter ready". Tire pressure is important and can decrease by as much as one pound for every 10 degrees the temperature drops. This will jeopardize the car's handling. Many newer cars have tire pressure monitors, older ones do not. Check your windshield wipers and make sure they are in good condition and turn them off before you turn the engine off. If not, they can stick to the windshield overnight and then when you start the car in the morning the wiper motor could burn out trying to get them going again! Remember to make sure the gas tank is always at least half full and the windshield washer reservoir is full. Keep and emergency kit, blanket, scrapper and shovel in the truck.

      - Visibility is critical so clear the vehicle of all snow and ice. Don't just scrap the spot in front of you clear...clear the entire vehicle. In many states it's the law to do so. But, snow flying off you roof onto your windshield or that of the drivers behind you is dangerous. Clean lights and rearview mirrors as well.

      - Slow down! Stopping time will be longer in these conditions, so keep a following distance of at least 8-10 seconds (3-4 in dry conditions).

      - Take care when breaking. Threshold breaking is recommended but many teens have not been taught or given the opportunity to practice this technique. Make sure you teen driver understands the concept and has practiced it.

      - The same holds true for skid control; a necessary skill but not usually taught in driver's education! Take you teen to a safe spot (empty parking lot) and let them experience how a skid "feels" and how to correctly recover (turning into the skid). If a skid occurs when they are driving you don't want it to be the first time they've experienced one.

      - Don't use cruise control on wet, snowy or icy roads.

      - Always look and steer in the direction you want to drive.

      - Do everything slowly and gently! Break slowly and gently, turn slowly and gently and accelerate the same way! Sudden movements lead to skids and loss of control. Prevention is key!

      - Keep a cell phone charged and with you. An emergency is the time to use it; the only time.

We want to end with saying that when the weather turns really nasty, stay home! Teach you teen that no trip is worth the risk and help them learn that through your example.

Safe driving!

The 2nd Annual Survive the 5 5K have officially been cancelled by the City of Alexandria.

The 2nd Annual Survive the 5 5K have officially been cancelled by the City of Alexandria due to anticipated severe weather in the region in connection with the Category 4 hurricane. The city informed us that all outdoor activities this weekend have been canceled and all parks and trails have been closed. We truly appreciate all the support this year, but unfortunately the race cannot be re-scheduled this year due to scheduling conflicts with the City of Alexandria, the Park Service, and our multiple vendors. The Survive The 5 has a no-refund policy, but we will have packet pickup for your t-shirts, bibs, and other goodies in your race bags over several days in the coming weeks, with times and locations to be announced. We regret having to cancel, but the safety of participants and volunteers must take precedence over the race. Again, to all the participants and our sponsors, we thank you for all the support this year.

The Ashley R. Thompson Memorial 2015 Scholarship was awarded to Faye Giebink

Faye Giebink, senior from Langley High School in Langley, Virginia is the 2015 recipient of the Ashley Renee Thompson Memorial Scholarship. Robin Thompson, Ashley mother and founder of The ART of Driving, presented the awarded to Faye at an award ceremony on June 2nd, 2015. The foundation wishes Faye all the best as she sets off to UVA this fall! Congratulations Faye.

Faye Giebink

Please help us continue this scholarship by your generous contributions. You can make tax free contributions via our web site. We warmly thank you in advance.

The ART of Driving was featured on ABC7 TV station.

The ART of driving was featured in a segment on ABC7 TV station on Feb 28. The founder, Robin Thompson, was interviewed and Ashley's book was mentioned.
Click here to watch the segment online.

B&N and Fairfax County Schools invited ART founder as a guest author at Mosby Woods Elementary School Book-fair

B&N and Fairfax County Schools invited the ART of driving founder, Robin Thompson, as a guest author at Mosby Woods Elementary School Book-fair for a reading of Ashley's book, "How the Firefly Got Its Name". Children enjoyed Ashley's enchanting story and parents learned the importance of modeling safe driving early. Thanks to B&N and Fairfax County Schools for the invitation!
Book Reading

The ART of Driving is a recipient of State Farm's Good Neighbor Citizenship Grant

The ART of Driving is proud to announce it is a recipient of State Farm's Good Neighbor Citizenship Grant. We are most appreciative!
Sate Farm

The ART of Driving has joined the 2014 National Summit

The ART of Driving has now joined the National Organizations for Youth Safety and will be at the 2014 National Summit here in DC.

Pounding the Pavement

Survive the five 5K race was mentioned on Burke Connection, check it out.

The Ashley R. Thompson Memorial 2014 Scholarship was awarded to Megan Ganley

Megan Ganley , senior from Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria, Virginia is the 2014 recipient of the Ashley Renee Thompson Memorial Scholarship. Brian Thompson, Ashley's brother, and Robin Thompson, Ashley mother and founder of The ART of Driving, presented the awarded to Megan at an award ceremony on June 6th, 2014. The foundation wishes Megan all the best as she sets off to Virginia Tech! Congratulations Megan..

Please help us continue this scholarship by your generous contributions. You can make tax free contributions via our web site. We warmly thank you in advance.

Founder Robin Thompson Wins Woman of the Year Award

Founder and director, Robin Thompson, was one of seven women to receive the 2013 Toyota Tribute to Working Women Award. In conjunction with WJLA-TV, Toyota's award honors women from the Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia who have made a dramatic difference in their workplace and community.

Robin was recognized at an awards luncheon held on October 11, 2013 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC and hosted by ABC-7 News co-anchor, Alison Starling. Robin was honored for the work the ART of Driving does and the lives it works to save. Robin's son Brian accompanied her and she thanked him for his support and contributions to the foundation.

Contact The ART of Driving to schedule a presentation at your school, youth group, or teen event. Help keep our teen drivers safe!

To Robin's left is Rose Bayat, Vice President of Customer Relations of DARCARS who helped sponsor the event. The ART of Driving is very grateful to DARCARS, WJLA and WASH FM for this recognition.

Driving Laws Change in Maryland

Starting October 1st new laws go into effect in Maryland. Talking on a hand-held mobile phone is now a primary offense; police can pull you over and issue a ticket. In the past police could only issue a ticket for using a cell phone if a driver was pulled over for another reason, such as speeding. Tickets will start at $75.00. Another law taking effect is a new seat belt law in Maryland requiring all backseat passengers to be belted. This will be a secondary offense. The ART of Driving is pleased to see laws take effect that will keep our highways safer for all. Kudos to Maryland! For more info go to www.towardzerodeathsmd.com

ART of Driving "On Point"

Our foundation has always believed in evidence based practice and our programs for teens and parents have been based on what research tell us is best practice. Once again we hear from the experts what parents can and should do to keep their young driver safe, and it's exactly what we have been saying for years.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety along with Dr. Anne McCartt (Senior Vice President for Research at IIHS) walks parents through the risk factors and discusses what they can do to keep their novice driver safe. We are pleased to say that everything in Dr. McCartt's presentation is what The ART of Driving has been stating for years. Dr. McCartt is one of the nation's leading experts on teen driving issues so please take a moment to watch the 20 minute video and share it with every parent you know!


National Safe Teen Driving Week.

Each year in October, by declaration of the US Congress, we take this week to acknowledge that teen driving safety is a national concern. Every week should be a conscious effort to help teen drivers adopt safer driving techniques. The ART of Driving continues its mission to keep our youngest drivers safe behind the wheel. Please join us in spreading the word!

Center for Disease Control and Prevention Issues Latest Statistics.

The CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control released a statement that" The percentage of teens in high school (aged 16 or older) who drove when they had been drinking alcohol decreased by 54 percent between 1991 and 2011" . Although this risky behavior continues to be a threat to our teens, it shows that the message of drinking and driving is getting through. This is why The ART of Driving focuses on the major causes of teen fatalities; inexperience and distractions. Parents and teens believe that as long as teen drivers are not drinking they are doing all they can. This could not be further from the truth. This past summer The ART of Driving provided educational programs to over 300 parents in the Northern Virginia area dispelling many common misconceptions regarding the cause of teen driving fatalities. In addition, parents were educated on why teen drivers are at greater risk, how to minimize those risks for their teen driver and how to provide them with better instruction and coaching behind the wheel. The positive response from parents was overwhelming. Consider helping The ART of Driving in its commitment to provide these programs to all parents and teens across the country by making a tax-free donation today.

SALON KHOURI has chosen our foundation as their community partner for the month of September!

The ART of Driving is excited to announce that Salon Khouri, in Fairfax, VA, has chosen our foundation as their community partner for the month of September! Salon Khouri is not only a fabulous salon with stellar service and a tranquil atmosphere but they truly care about their community. For the entire month of September they will be holding raffles for various services in the salon with proceeds going to help The ART of Driving promote safe teen driving practices and improved education for our young drivers. We encourage you to visit Salon Khouri for a fabulous hair cut, color, or one of their many other wonderful services. While doing so you will be helping the ART of Driving!

The salon is located at 11725 Lee Highway in Fairfax. Call (703) 273-7878 or visit their site www.salonkhouri.com to make an appointment today - and don't forget to tell your friends!

Latest News From the Governor's Highway Safety Association.

The Governor's Highway Safety Association just released statistics for the first six months of 2011. The numbers show an 11% increase in 16-and17-year-old driver deaths. If we see this trend continue for the second half of 2011, it will bring an end to an eight year decline in deaths for this age group. This should serve as a wakeup call for both parents and teens. The problem of teen driver fatalities is still with us and needs to be addressed. The ART of Driving will continue its educational efforts with teens, parents and the community at large. Working together we can keep our young drivers safe and prevent the heartache that accompanies such a tragedy.

National Teen Driver Safety Week

National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW) will soon be here on October 16-22, 2011. This year's theme is supporting parents in teaching their teens to drive. According to new research from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), 87 percent of teens report having a parent involved in learning to drive. In fact, 4 in 10 teens report ONLY being taught by a parent. Other recent CHOP research suggests that although parents can identify the basic concepts teen drivers need to learn (such as "parking the car"), they tend not to mention the more advanced skills proven to cause teen crashes, such as scanning for hazards.

The ART of Driving has long advocated that parents are pivotal to the learning-to-drive process for teens, but they may not always have the tools and knowledge they need to be effective. Please visit The ART of Driving website to learn the specifics of what parents can do to keep their teen driver safe. Better yet, invite The ART of Driving to speak at your parent group, school or church group. Let's help support parents during National Teen Driver Safety Week.

Kaiser Permanente Recognizes The ART of Driving in Winter 2010 KPeople Issue:

ART of Driving founder, Robin Thompson, RN, was interviewed by Kaiser Permanente for their Winter 2010 issue of KPeople. Latest research states that health care providers are in a key position to address this national health crisis by discussing the unique risks faced by young drivers with teens and parents, and by sharing prevention strategies with them. Health care provides have made great strides in other areas of health promotion and wellness such as smoking cessation and drug and alcohol abuse awareness. Similar efforts can be made in teen driver safety. Read the complete article and share it with a health care provider you know.

Parents are Key in keeping their Teen Driver Safe:

If a disease were claiming 6,000 teen lives each year there would be no end to what we would do as a society or as parents to stop that. We have to ask ourselves why losing that many teens to vehicle crashes every year is not causing a public outcry for change. Is it that what for the most part is a preventable tragedy is considered by many to be inevitable?

Parents play a key role in keeping their teen driver safe. A survey by the Allstate Foundation found that the majority of teens felt their parents were most influential in encouraging safe driving practices. The survey also found that parents talk to their children about drugs, alcohol, and safe sex at a much earlier age than they discuss safe diving. Parents need to talk to their children about safe driving practices and model those practices. Even when children are in car seats they see adults talking on cell phones, eating, drinking a latte, and changing a CD. This sends the message that distracted driving is acceptable. In addition, when a consequence does not occur from such actions, the perception of risk is decreased.

Certain driving situations place our youngest drivers at greater risks. These include driving at night, with other teen passengers, when fatigued, and when unbelted. Graduated Driving Licensing (GDL) laws address most of these issues by restricting nighttime driving and teen passengers. However, most parents are not familiar with such laws or the risks of such behaviors. Only 45% of parents felt that having friends in the car put their teen at risk (Allstate Foundation). The majority of fatal teen crashes happen between 9 p.m. and midnight. However, only 16% of parents surveyed by the Allstate Foundation felt driving at night put their teen at risk. Teen drivers have the lowest rate of seat belt use; a rule parents need to enforce. Drowsy driving related crashes are more common in young people and pose a significant risk for novice drivers. Being awake for 18 hours produces the same impairment as a BAC of 0.05. One just has to look at a teen's daily schedule to see how this can be a problem. Early start times at high schools, after-school activities and jobs, and academic demands all make for a long day. Many over-the-counter and prescription medications can negatively affect a teen's driving ability. A simple antihistamine for allergy or cold symptoms can pose a problem.

Once armed with knowledge and facts parents are in a better position to guide, monitor, and restrict their teen driver. The ART of Driving is here to help parents gain the knowledge they need to keep their child safe. The ART of Driving, along with current research, advocates for all teens to have a written driving agreement with their parents/guardians. Taking the time to sit with your teen and discuss your expectations, rules, and consequences for not following those rules sends a clear message that you care, take this process seriously, and want to keep him/her safe. Your teen may not show it, but your involvement means a great deal to him/her. Nothing keeps a teen safer than knowing they are loved.

2009 Ashley Renee Thompson Memorial Scholarship Awarded...

The Ashley Renee Thompson Memorial Foundation is pleased to announce the 2009 recipient of Ashley's scholarship. This is the sixth scholarship to be awarded, and the decision is always a challenging one. We receive many applications from deserving young ladies but always one stands out!

This year's recipient is Sarah Morehouse. Sarah is a senior at Lake Braddock High School in Burke, Virginia. She will be attending William & Mary College in the Fall. Sarah is a young lady who has been dedicated not only to her academic pursuits, but also to a sport she loves, as well as to her community. She has persevered through set backs and disappointments to arrive at a place where she is stronger and wiser for the experience. Her ability to see the positive in life's circumstances and to refocus her attention and goals demonstrates great maturity. She not only exemplifies Ashley's qualities and characteristics, but the pillars of this organization that was founded in Ashley's honor.

The foundation wishes Sarah much success in her future endeavors.

ART of Driving Receives Governor’s Award

The ART of Driving is proud to announce that is has been awarded the 2009 Governor’s Transportation Safety Award for Youth Traffic Safety in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The award, based on strides made by the organization in the area of teen driving safety, will be formally presented in Virginia Beach on August 12th 2009. The ART of Driving has reached thousands of teens and parents during the past year and its Teen Task Force has been very successful in empowering teens to take the pledge to not only be safe drivers but, safe passengers as well.

The ART of Driving is committed to raising awareness of the unique risks faced by our teen drivers. Through its educational programs teens and parents alike are learning what can be done to minimize those risks and keep our youth safe on our highways.


New Jersey Gov. John Corzine Signs New Teen Driving Law

On April 15th, New Jersey became the first state in the nation requiring teen drivers to display a decal on their vehicles. Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed into law Kyleigh's Law, named after Kyleigh D'Alessio, a 16-year-old Long Valley resident who was killed in a December 2006 car crash involving a teen driver. The law takes effect May 15th, 2010.

Gov. Corzine has first-hand experience with driving crashes. He was involved in a car crash that broke 15 of his bones in 18 places. He lost half his blood and spent eight days in intensive care with ventilator breathing for him. All because he wasn't wearing a seat belt. Watch his PSA here at YouTube.

So while New Jersey has recognized the critical importance of identifying new drivers on the road through use of a decal, you don't have to wait. Just pick up a CAUTION - NEWLY LICENSED magnetic bumper sticker at the Safe Teen Driving Club website.Give your teen -- and other drivers -- a better chance at safe driving.

Driving Age Again in News

The driving age is once again an issue in the news. In other countries, including Germany, France and most of the EU, Brazil, China, Japan, Russia, South Africa and the Australian state of Victoria, teens can’t be licensed until the age of 18. Our neighbors to the North in Canada still hold with most US states at 16 years old. New Jersey stands alone in the US with minimum licensing at 17, while South Dakota is at 14-1/2.

According to the IIHS.org status report of September 9th, “A basic question is whether the risk associated with beginning drivers stems from their youth and immaturity or [their] inexperience. If it’s mainly immaturity, then it would pay to put off licensure until teenagers get a little bit older. But if the problem is mostly inexperience, then delaying licensure would simply put off the toll of beginner’s crashes [to an older age group].”

Many studies have been done dating back to the 90’s that try to separate these two factors. One Canadian study concludes that 16 year old teens, especially girls, had higher rates of injury crashes than older teens who had the same amount of behind the wheel experience. Another 11 studies also focused on driver age and inexperience. Based on these studies, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety concludes that “new drivers who are 16 years old have higher crash rates than older teenagers who are also new drivers.”

So it seems that research supports raising the driving age to reduce the crash rate. During 2008 several states introduced legislation to raise the driving age, yet none have passed. Legislators face resistance from parents who, according to Dr. Anne McCartt, “…may know that putting off licensure is good from a safety standpoint, but at the same time they’re impatient to get out of the business of chauffeuring their kids from one activity to another. They often believe their own children will be safe drivers, and they may be disinclined to disappoint their kids, many of whom want to get their licenses as soon as possible. For these and whatever other reasons, parents haven’t made a big push to change the licensing laws,” McCartt says.

We finally have research to back-up what many of us already know, the driving age should be raised. A question that needs to be asked is why are we, as a society, still so resistant to the idea? Are we really willing to put convenience before safety? A thought we may all want to ponder.



  • May 1, 2019
  • Gainsville/Haymarket Rotary Club
  • 14675 Piedmont Vista Dr.
  • Haymarket, VA 20169
  • 7:30AM—8:30AM

  • October 22, 2018
  • The ART of Driving at Langley High School
  • 6520 Georgetown Pike
  • McLean, VA 22101

  • May 6, 2017
  • Manassas Reads
  • Ashley's Fable, "How The Firefly Got Its Name" will be featured
  • Book will be for sale and the story read by Ashley's mother.
  • Harris Pavilion
    (9201 Center St.)
  • Manassas, VA
  • 9AM—2PM

Contact Us

The ART of Driving
P.O. Box 95
Fairfax, VA 22038
(703) 968-0975