CHICAGO, Oct. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Illinois teen drivers, ages 16 – 20, were at the wheel during 58,392 accidents in 2010, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. In an effort to reduce the number of teen related crashes and to educate teens and parents about the dangers of distracted driving, Toyota is hosting its free advanced driving skills program, Toyota Driving Expectations, for newly licensed or permitted teens and their parents at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill., October 20-21. Interested participants must have a driver's license or learner's permit and pre-register online at www.toyotadrivingexpectations.com.
Toyota established the free safe teen driving program in 2004 to supplement standard driving education courses with real-time opportunities to learn about defensive driving, the impact of distractions, and safe habits. The "On the Road" 2.5-hour course involves both driving time and classroom discussions, and is unique for requiring the participation of a parent or guardian to support coaching within the family so they can continue to act as role models and teachers at home. Nearly 20,000 teens and parents have participated in the "On the Road" Toyota Driving Expectations program, which was among the first to understand the importance of and include parents in safe driving programs for teen drivers.
Taught by professional drivers, the curriculum for Toyota Driving Expectations was developed in partnership with multiple organizations committed to safe driving, including the National Safety Council and the Defensive Driving Academy in California. The program's curriculum is designed for teens and parents alike to:
- Learn defensive driving skills and crash avoidance techniques, such as best practices for focusing on the road
- Identify and respond to the potentially dangerous driving situations that they encounter daily
- Experience firsthand the dangers of distracted driving and understand the relationship between distraction and reaction time
- Understand vehicle dynamics and safety features, including how to engage an anti-lock braking system
Building upon the eight-year success of its behind-the-wheel safety workshops, Toyota has expanded Toyota Driving Expectations offering the following road safety programs in select cities:
- In Dealerships: A free interactive Teen Driver Safety Clinic that provides pre-drivers and new drivers and their parents with car care basics to prepare for the road ahead.
- In High Schools: An assembly with NHRA Pro Stock Race Driver Erica Enders encourages teens to stay focused on achieving their personal goals while safely navigating the road ahead. A simulator demonstrates dangers of distracted driving.
- On the Web: In partnership with Discovery Education, www.toyotateendriver.com is a comprehensive website designed to help teens avoid distractions, and offers tools, resources and competitions for educators, teens and parents.
Committed to road safety, Toyota is conducting research to evaluate the effectiveness of an electronic coaching and monitoring system for newly licensed teenage drivers to help reduce unsafe driving behaviors. The research is being conducted by Toyota's Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC), which is based in Michigan. Launched in January 2011, the CSRC's mission is to serve as a catalyst for the advancement of auto safety involving the vehicle, driver and traffic environment.
"The ultimate goal of the Toyota Driving Expectations program is for teens to develop responsible daily driving habits and gain the skills to handle challenging situations behind the wheel."
- Michael Rouse, Toyota's vice president of diversity, philanthropy and community affairs
Prior to the Chicago event, Toyota Driving Expectations was held in Cleveland, Tenn., Georgetown, Ky. and Philadelphia, Pa.
Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants. Toyota directly employs over 30,000 in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $18 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design.
Toyota is committed to being a good corporate citizen in the communities where it does business and believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable results. Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, focusing on education, the environment and safety. Since 1991, Toyota has contributed over half a billion dollars to philanthropic programs in the U.S.
For more information on Toyota's commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit http://www.toyota.com/philanthropy.
About National Safety Council
The National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes, communities and on the roads, through leadership, research, education and advocacy.