NASCAR is teaming up with the state and others to get teens to focus when they’re behind the wheel. If you want to get teenagers’ attention, park a race car in front of their school and bring a couple of NASCAR drivers to sign autographs.
Busch series rookie of the year Kyle Busch is one of the drivers reaching out to teens for the national focus on driving campaign. His message: tune out all the distractions and keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.
Kyle Busch says, "Try to keep off the radio as much as you can, and of course, leave your cell phone down on the seat or in your pocket or whatever else and practice mainly on your driving and understanding the importance of what it comes down to."
Distractions have a major impact on safe driving. A distracted driver has a response time a second and a half slower than a driver who’s paying attention, and that can have deadly consequences.
Four hundred three teen drivers were involved in fatal crashes last year, and up to half were caused by driver distraction. NASCAR fan Kelly McQuary says teens may actually start to listen to the warnings if they’re delivered by speedway superstars.
Kelly McQuary says, "Because they’re telling us how much important, if they just said it on TV, maybe people would overlook it or something, but if they’re here telling us, then we might pay attention more."
The other key is getting adults on board. Since distractions are a danger to everyone on the road, safety experts hope grownups will start setting a better example.
The focus on driving campaign started two years ago with a pilot program in Orlando, and kicked off its statewide push Monday.
The program is also going national.