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RADD, Toyota blast texting while driving

DWT is not cool. It's nuts.

Posted: December 2, 2009 2:33 p.m.
Updated: December 2, 2009 2:40 p.m.
 
TORRANCE -- The dangers of driving while texting (DWT) have been proven. Now the challenge is to get out the word. DWT is not cool -- DWT is nuts.

Almost 6,000 people died in 2008 from fatal crashes involving distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That's 16% of all road deaths, up from 12% in 2007.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that cell phone users are four times as likely to be involved in injury crashes and the Harvard Center of Risk Analysis estimates that cell phone use while driving contributes to 2,600 deaths and 12,000 serious injuries, with a financial toll of $43 billion per year.

"This issue is on the fast track to a national crisis. We need to get in front of DWT fast," states Erin Meluso, president of RADD. The organization's "DWT is Nuts" campaign was left without a sponsor when the economic downturn led to budget cuts in corporate sponsorship.

"Toyota was our white knight," stated Meluso of the amazing effort Toyota Headquarters staff put in through the Thanksgiving holiday to help the 23-year-old non-profit advantage a prime location donated by the L.A. Auto Show to get their timely message in front of an anticipated 1.2 million auto show attendees.

"Toyota is dedicated to supporting both teens and parents in developing safe, responsible driving habits and protecting them on the road," said Michael Rouse, Toyota's Vice President of Philanthropy and Community Affairs.

In support of measures to reduce teen driving crashes through education and real-world preparation, Toyota offers an advanced teen driving skills program for teens and parents, "Toyota Driving Expectations." This mutual comdddmitment to road safety led to the last minute alliance to "do something" where it counts - center stage among the tuner and technology section of the largest auto show in the West.

Toyota's Rouse said, "Since 2004, our goal with Toyota Driving Expectations has been to prepare teens with the critical skills and knowledge to handle real-world driving situations and to give parents some guidelines to be an effective coach and mentor. Making our streets safer requires an ongoing effort among many like-minded partners, such as the National Safety Council, MADD, SafetyBeltSafe, and now we are pleased to join with RADD to expand awareness of the dangers of texting while driving."

Over 13,000 participants have learned about risks associated with distracted driving among other life-saving lessons at Toyota's events.

This story is posted in The Signal's SCV Raw section. Click here for more information about SCV Raw.

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