Nationwide Insurance, NASCAR driver Jeff Burton encourage local drivers to stop texting while driving
Many young motorists committing DWD – “Driving While Distracted”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 3, 2008
“I am an active safety advocate in NASCAR and do everything to ensure my personal safety while racing,” said Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 29 Holiday Inn Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. “That concern goes beyond the race track to the streets and highways. To help prevent potential accidents, drivers need to have their focus completely on the road and avoid distractions while behind the wheel.”
To drive home the message that multitasking behind the wheel puts drivers and their fellow motorists as risk, Nationwide hosted an event at West High School. Students and community members were able to see firsthand the impact text messaging has on their driving abilities while racing in a NASCAR simulator.
New Nationwide Insurance survey underscores DWD problem
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 new survey released by Nationwide Mutual Insurance of 1,500 drivers, 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.
“Clearly, distracted driving has taken over our roadways, and our survey shows that no one is immune − no matter how safe they think they are,” said Bill Windsor, Associate Vice President of Safety for Nationwide.
Distractions that take a driver’s eyes off the road even for just seconds put drivers and their passengers at great risk.
“At Nationwide, we’re as much in the business of preventing accidents as we are in reimbursing people after an accident,” said David Arango, Nationwide’s Regional Vice President for Ohio and West Virginia. “Text messaging comes natural to Gen Y-ers. However, multitasking while behind the wheel is quite different from multitasking while sitting at home.”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.
"The increase in cell phone use and text-messaging by young drivers – and adult drivers as well – makes the "don't drive while distracted" message critical for all communities,” said Dr. Gene Harris, Superintendent of Columbus City Schools. “I applaud Nationwide and NASCAR for addressing this very contemporary safety issue.”
Today’s event is part of Nationwide Insurance’s new sponsorship of the NASCAR Nationwide Series. In addition to spreading the message of dangers of driving while distracted, the event gave race fans an opportunity to get driver autographs, clock the fastest time in a NASCAR racing simulator, meet local Nationwide agents and win prizes. The grand prize for the sweepstakes at the event was two tickets to an Ohio State University football game.
Nationwide, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the world, with more than $161 billion in assets. Nationwide ranks #108 on the Fortune 500 list. The company provides a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, life, 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.