March 20, 2007 - New York - Teen drivers make up only 6.6 percent of licensed drivers, but constitute 14 percent of accidents and related deaths. Sixteen-year-olds have the highest crash rate of any age and are three times more likely to die in a car crash than the average driver. In an effort to improve these odds, Toyota announced today it is continuing its national program to promote safe driving among teens, Toyota Driving Expectations. This unique program, offered free of charge, is designed to teach teens and parents alike about defensive driving techniques against a backdrop of real-world scenarios.
While many states and schools offer some form of driver's education, and many states now require a "provisional" or "graduated" driver's license for those under the age of 18, it's the real-world distractions that can be the most dangerous to teen drivers. Toyota Driving Expectations goes beyond what is currently taught in typical driver training classes in order to help teens identify and react to dangerous driving situations. To better understand the critical relationship between distractions and reaction time, teens and parents navigate a driving course while drinking water, listening to loud music and talking on a cell phone. They also experience hard braking maneuvers on wet and dry pavement and maneuver through multiple slalom driving courses under the watchful eyes of professional drivers.
"Toyota is committed to providing teens with the tools they need to be better prepared on the road and to become better drivers," said Michael Rouse, Toyota's corporate manager of national philanthropy and community affairs. "Since its inception in 2004, more than 4,000 teens and parents have successfully completed the Toyota Driving Expectations program, which was developed after several pilots and valuable feedback from teens, parents and the National Safety Council."
Another unique aspect of Toyota Driving Expectations is that a parent or guardian must accompany the teen driver to the four-hour program. Parents and teens are split into separate groups for part of the course, allowing parents to learn about vehicle safety technology, defensive driving and how to design and set realistic expectations for their teen. The program concludes with teens and parents reuniting to develop a safe driving contract to be put into practice when the families return home.
The National Safety Council has been involved with the Toyota program since the beginning and has provided input on curriculum development. The program includes elements of the Council's signature programs including the Defensive Driving Course—Alive at 25 and Teen Driver: A Family Guide to Teen Driver Safety.
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