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Wallace and Coleman Encourage Local Teens to Stop Texting While Driving

Many Young Motorists Committing DWD – “Driving While Distracted”

Kenny Wallace
Kenny Wallace
Brad Coleman
Brad Coleman
SOUTHLAKE, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Nationwide Insurance teamed up with NASCAR drivers Kenny Wallace and Brad Coleman to raise awareness among Texas teens about DWD – Driving While Distracted.

“When our three daughters started driving my wife and I took it very seriously. Each went through driver’s education programs, but we also taught them safe driving on our own,” said Wallace, driver of the No. 28 U.S. Border Patrol Chevy in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. “The most important thing to me is that they are safe drivers who are very aware of their surroundings when they are in the car.”

To drive home the message that multitasking behind the wheel puts drivers and their fellow motorists as risk, Nationwide hosted an event a Southlake Carroll Senior High School. Students and community members were able to see firsthand the impact text messaging has on their driving abilities while racing in a NASCAR simulator.

“In a race, if I don’t focus, I don’t finish and it costs me points,” said Coleman, driver of the No. 27 Kleenex Ford in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. “If I am distracted out on the road outside the racetrack, it could cost me and those around me a lot more.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says distracted drivers account for nearly four out of five crashes in the U.S. The problem is especially bad for young drivers. In a survey by Nationwide Mutual Insurance of 1,200 drivers, a third of Gen Y-ers admit to always multitasking while driving and 37 percent send text messages while driving.

“At Nationwide, we’re as much in the business of preventing accidents as we are in reimbursing people after an accident,” said Brian McCulloch, Nationwide’s Associate Vice President of Sales for Texas. “Text messaging comes natural to Gen Y-ers. However, multitasking while behind the wheel is quite different from multitasking while sitting at home.”

Distractions that take a driver’s eyes off the road even for just seconds put drivers and their passengers at great risk.

"The increase in cell phone use and text-messaging by young drivers – and adult drivers as well – makes the 'don't drive while distracted' message critical for all communities,” said Dr. Daniel Presley, Principal of Southlake Carroll Senior High School. “I applaud Nationwide and NASCAR for addressing this very contemporary safety issue.”

Nationwide and the National Safety Council developed www.NationwideSmartRide.com, a Website to provide parents and teens free tools and resources to help develop safe drivers and reinforce smart behavior. It is available free to anyone regardless of whether they are a Nationwide customer.

Nationwide Insurance was at Southlake Carroll Senior High as part of its new sponsorship of the NASCAR Nationwide Series. In addition to spreading the message of dangers of driving while distracted, the event gave race fans an opportunity to get driver autographs, clock the fastest time in a NASCAR racing simulator, meet local Nationwide agents and win prizes. The grand prize for the sweepstakes at the event was the Nationwide VIP Experience at Texas Motor Speedway, which includes behind-the-scenes tours.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series will be at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, April 5, 2008 for the O'Reilly 300. Coverage beings at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN 2.

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