Nationwide Insurance, NASCAR stars, encourage New Technology High School at Garinger teens to stop driving distracted
Many young motorists committing DWD – “Driving While Distracted”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2009
Lisa Cox 336-682-8488
Liz Christopher 614-249-7705
Today, Nationwide Insurance teamed up with NASCAR star Kyle Petty, David Ragan and Erik Darnell, drivers of the NASCAR Nationwide Series No. 6 Roush Fenway Ford, to raise awareness about DWD – Driving While Distracted.
“Young 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 for our children 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 NASCAR to New Technology High School at Garinger to launch the second year of its education campaign to spread the message of dangers of driving while distracted. Students saw firsthand the impact text messaging has on their driving abilities while racing in a NASCAR simulator.
"I am so glad Nationwide Insurance is raising awareness about Driving While Distracted,” said David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 Discount Tire Ford Fusion. “I am extremely focused while on the road and very conscious of what is going on around me. Our young motorists can learn a valuable lesson in safety through this special program. If we all do our part in abiding by the laws of the road it will make our daily commute more enjoyable and much safer.”
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.
“It doesn’t matter if I’m on the track going 180 mph or just driving to the shop, I’m always aware of my surroundings. Staying alert and avoiding distractions while behind the wheel not only keeps me out of trouble, but also those around me. Nationwide Insurance has done an outstanding job with the Driving While Distracted program and I am proud to be a part of it,” said Rookie of the Year Contender Erik Darnell, driver of the No. 6 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford Fusion.
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.
New Technology High School at Garinger was selected for this event because of their Racing to
Inspire, Stimulate & Educate (RISE) program. RISE, a gang prevention program for high school youth, focuses on career options in motorsports and other science, technology, engineering and math related careers. RISE has 20 Garinger High School students in hands-on learning opportunities so that they may discover paths that lead to potential work within North Carolina’s motorsports industry.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series will be at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 23, 2009 for the Carquest Auto Parts 300. Coverage beings at 7 p.m. 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.