NEW YORK, Nov. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The first year a teenager gets their driver's license will be one of the most dangerous of their lives and while cars today are safer than ever, automobile crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers.
Today, Toyota launched TeenDrive365 (www.TeenDrive365.com), a driving safety platform to help families navigate the critical first year of a teen's independent driving. Designed to amplify the teen driving programs and resources Toyota has offered for over a decade, the initiative aims to help foster an ongoing dialogue between parents and teens through engaging online tools, expert advice and tips, local events and social media.
One of TeenDrive365's goals is to inspire parents to model safer driving behaviors for their teens. This premise of bringing parents and teens together to encourage safe driving is based on scientific research from a national study Toyota conducted with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. The study found a significant correlation between how parents and their teens drive, suggesting that parents are the biggest influence on how a teen will behave behind the wheel.
The study was sponsored by Toyota's Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC) (www.toyota.com/csrc), which works with leading institutions on auto safety research, including projects designed to better understand teen drivers' risks and behaviors and identify effective recommendations to help keep them safe.
"We like to say that driver's education begins the day a parent turns their child's car seat around to face forward," said Dr. Tina Sayer, Toyota Collaborative Safety Research Center Principal Engineer and teen safe driving expert. "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."
Resources Designed To Help Parents and Teens Jumpstart a Dialogue about Driving Safety
TeenDrive365 features a collection of resources and tools, which can be accessed online at www.TeenDrive365.com, including:
- Information on Teen Safe Driving Events across the country, ranging from hands-on defensive driving courses to educational safety clinics to virtual-reality distracted driving simulators at concerts, auto shows and more;
- Toyota's Mutual Driving Agreement, a safe driving contract which teens and parents can use to set expectations for their behaviors behind the wheel and make a joint pledge to drive more safely;
- Toyota Parent/Teen Safety Challenge on Facebook, a fun social media quiz to find out who knows more about rules of the road – parents or teens;
- Resources from Toyota Teen Driver, including coaching guides and training videos for parents as well as the Toyota Teen Driver Video Challenge, which encourages teens to create short videos that inspire their friends to avoid driving distractions for the chance to win a $15,000 prize; and
- Safety Tips and Facts from Toyota's teen safety programs.
TeenDrive365 was previewed at a TEDYouth event in New Orleans this past weekend, where teen influencers and TEDYouth's own "iReporters" interviewed their peers about distractions and driving and then reported their findings on stage at the event. Attendees also had the opportunity to test the TeenDrive365 driving simulator to experience, first-hand, how distractions impair their ability to remain safe behind the wheel.
TeenDrive365 serves to raise awareness of the teen safety programs Toyota has offered for more than ten years. In addition to ongoing research from the CSRC, Toyota Driving Expectations (www.toyotadrivingexpectations.com) provides hands-on, real world defensive driving courses that go far beyond what is taught in standard driver education courses, while Toyota Teen Driver (www.toyotateendriver.com) offers free online teen safety resources to parents, teens, educators and schools. Arrive in Style (www.teenvogue.com/arriveinstyle), is a safe driving campaign with Teen Vogue to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving among teenage girls and inspire them to make a mutual commitment with their mothers to drive safely.
For more information, please visit www.TeenDrive365.com.
 The National Safety Council
Toyota, the world's top automaker and creator of the Prius, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. Over the past 50 years, we've built more than 25 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants and directly employ nearly 40,000 people. Our 1,800 North American dealerships sold more than 2.3 million cars and trucks in 2012 – and about 80% of all Toyotas sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.