Toyota Emphasizes Safety, Responsibility in New Driving Campaign for Teens

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Toyota has launched a new campaign to bring attention to teen drivers’ most dangerous year on the road—their first. 

TeenDrive365 emphasizes the importance of parents talking to their teens about the “dangers from distracted driving,” Marjorie Schussel, corporate marketing director for Toyota, told Advertising Age. “We as parents need to be models for our children.” Schussel cited a national study conducted by Toyota and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute that found that parents “are the No. 1 influence” on what kind of driver their teens will be.

According to the National Safety Council, a teen driver’s risk of a crash is three times greater than that of a more-experienced driver; drivers using hand-held devices are four times as likely to crash as those using hands-free devices; and more teens die in car crashes than from homicides and suicides combined.[more]

The study was sponsored by Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center. Principal engineer Dr. Tina Sayer said, “We like to say that driver’s education begins the day a parent turns their child’s car seat around to face forward. It’s so important that parents understand that the actions they take and the expectations they set for young drivers each day are powerful factors in encouraging a lifetime of safe behavior behind the wheel.”

Toyota has offered programs to raise awareness of teen driving safety for more than a decade, including Toyota Driving Expectations and Toyota Teen Driver, which invites teens to create original videos to inspire their peers to be safer drivers for the chance to win $15,000—an effort that will run again this year.

Toyota’s video spots for TeenDrive365 will run on ABC.com and Hulu, and will be accompanied by print, radio, display and online ads with sponsored content on Twitter and Facebook.

The safety effort mirrors that of mobile carriers AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and Sprint who have backed the “It Can Wait” no texting-and-driving pledge.

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