Nationwide Insurance, NASCAR’s Kyle Petty, Brad Keselowski, Michael Annett, encourage race fans to stop driving distracted
Many motorists committing DWD – “Driving While Distracted”
Gayle Saunders 614-203-4772
Liz Christopher 614-205-3416
Des Moines, IA— Today, Nationwide Insurance teamed up with NASCAR star Kyle Petty and NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers Brad Keselowski and Michael Annett, to raise awareness about DWD – Driving While Distracted.
“Drivers today are faced with more distractions than ever before, and diverting their attention away from the road with cell phone calls and text messages creates a very dangerous situation,” said Kyle Petty. “It is important to learn about the risks associated with distracted driving. If we can raise awareness on this particular subject, I believe we can save lives.”
Nationwide Insurance brought the NASCAR drivers to its downtown Des Moines campus for the third stop on an education campaign to spread the message of dangers of driving while distracted. Race fans saw firsthand the impact text messaging has on their driving abilities while racing in a NASCAR simulator.
“I’m excited to be a part of this great campaign on behalf of Nationwide,” said Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 88 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet. “Between cell phones, text messaging and iPods, drivers are faced with so many distractions these days and I think it is important that they understand exactly how much of a problem these things can create while they are driving. When I’m on the track, it is imperative that I be as focused as possible and the same is true for drivers who are out on the road.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says distracted drivers account for nearly four out of five crashes in the U.S.The problem is especially bad for young drivers. In a 2008 survey, Nationwide found that nearly 40 percent of the teenagers and young adults surveyed admitted they send and receive text messages while driving - the same percentage of those questioned who said they have been hit or almost hit by another car whose driver was talking on a cell phone.
“Being a young adult from the Des Moines area, I was able to directly relate to the audience here at the Nationwide campus. One of the biggest dangers of driving while distracted these days is texting behind the wheel. I know how difficult it is to maintain a racecar, and keeping your eyes on the road in your everyday vehicle is just the same. The slightest distraction can make a huge impact on the road,” said Des Moines native Michael Annett, driver of the No. 15 Northland Oil Toyota. “It was great for Nationwide to let race fans test out their driving ability while texting on the simulator and see just how dangerous it is.”
Nationwide and the National Safety Council developed www.NationwideSmartRide.com, a Website to provide parents and teens free tools and resources to help develop safe drivers and reinforce smart behavior. It is available free to anyone regardless of whether they are a Nationwide customer.
“Clearly, distracted driving has taken over our roadways and Nationwide wants to educate all drivers that they need to focus on the road, not on their technology, when behind the wheel,” said Bill Windsor, Associate Vice President of Safety for Nationwide Insurance.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series will be at Iowa Speedway on Saturday, August 1, 2009 for the US Cellular 250. Coverage beings at 3:30 p.m. Central Time on ESPN2.
Nationwide, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is rated A+ by A.M. Best. The company provides a full range of personalized insurance and financial services, including auto insurance, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, life insurance, farm, commercial insurance, administrative services, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans and health and productivity services. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series logo and word mark are used under license by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc., and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. NASCAR ® and the NASCAR logo are registered trademarks of the National Association for Stock Auto Racing, Inc. Nationwide SmartRide is a service mark of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. Nationwide, On Your Side and the Nationwide Frame mark are federally registered service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.