NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for American teens. The yearly increase in numbers of alcohol-related crashes for teens begins to occur during April and May — prom and graduation season — according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Nissan North America and the Tennessee Governor's Highway Safety Office (GHSO) are stepping up and talking to teens about the importance of avoiding distracted driving, and other harmful behaviors behind the wheel, as part of the ThinkFast program. The interactive, game-show-format teen awareness initiative officially kicked off in April, just in time for National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. With Nissan's support, the number of ThinkFast events will more than double from previous years, taking place at more than 110 Tennessee high schools and middle schools statewide, with program completion in the fall.
"Nissan's commitment to driver and passenger safety is reflected in the ThinkFast program," said Bob Yakushi, director of Product Safety, Nissan North America, Inc. "Nissan has a vision of eliminating teen accidents and fatalities by instilling safe driving habits in students before they get their driver's licenses – just one of many safety education initiatives in place to help reduce the number of auto-related injuries and fatalities. This vision aligns with Nissan's global Vision Zero, which aims to help reduce the number of accidents through the development of safety technologies, with a goal of ultimately reducing fatalities and serious injuries in Nissan vehicles to zero."
Since 2006, GHSO has worked to decrease the number of teen vehicle fatalities and serious injuries through the ThinkFast program. Historically, GHSO has been able to offer ThinkFast to 35 to 40 counties in the state starting with those that have the highest fatalities among teen drivers. This year, with the support of Nissan North America, GHSO is able to add an additional 75 schools, bringing the total to more than 110 throughout Tennessee, allowing more teens to be educated on the risks associated with drunk or distracted driving.
"Our ultimate goal is to greatly reduce, and perhaps even eliminate, motor vehicle deaths throughout Tennessee," said Kendell Poole, Director of Tennessee's Governor's Highway Safety Office. "Thanks to Nissan North America's commitment to safety education, we've significantly increased our existing efforts. We're excited to partner with a company that is equally passionate about the safety of our youth."
Beginning in April, Tennessee students aged 12 to 18 will compete against their peers in the game-show-format contest. The program, complete with a full production set, mainstream music, an entertaining host, and informative and engaging trivia that appeals to teens, is designed to spread the messages of impaired driving prevention and awareness continuously and consistently.
A typical ThinkFast show is 75 to 90 minutes long and consists of two rounds, with 20 questions per round. The audience uses wireless remote controls to answer trivia questions on a variety of topics, including pop culture, movies, music, driver safety and distracted driving avoidance. ThinkFast aims to provide students with information that can facilitate healthy choices while offering an exciting educational experience that can extend to the real world.
Editor's note: A video of the ThinkFast program is available here.
About the Tennessee Governor's Highway Safety Office
The Tennessee Governor's Highway Safety Office is a division of the Tennessee Department of Transportation, and is funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Our vision at the Governor's Highway Safety Office is to have all highway users arrive at their destination and to establish a time when there will be no loss of life on Tennessee's roadways. Our mission is to save lives and reduce injuries on Tennessee roads through leadership, innovation, coordination, and program support in partnership with other public and private organizations. In order to accomplish this mission, the Governor's Highway Safety Office has developed an action plan that addresses the behavioral aspects of highway safety; that is, activities that affect the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of highway users and safety professionals. For the past four years, Tennessee has been able to reduce traffic fatalities by more than 25%, reaching the goals set forth by the State Strategic Highway Safety Plan. Our long-range goal is to reduce the number of traffic fatalities to 900 or less by the end of 2012. More information about Tennessee's Governor's Highway Safety Office can be found online at http://www.tdot.state.tn.us./ghso/ and http://www.tntrafficsafety.org.
About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year in 2010, 2011, and 2012 by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.InfinitiUSA.com.
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan's second largest Japanese automotive company by volume, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan and is an integral pillar of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 150,000 employees globally, Nissan provided customers with more than 4 million vehicles in 2010. With a strong commitment to developing exciting and innovative products for all, Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of fuel-efficient and low-emissions vehicles under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. A pioneer in zero-emission mobility, Nissan made history with the introduction of the Nissan LEAF, the first affordable, mass-market, pure-electric vehicle and winner of numerous international accolades including the prestigious 2011 European Car of the Year award.
SOURCE Nissan Americas