While many states and schools offer some form of driver's education, and many states now require a "provisional" or "graduated" driver's license for those under the age of 18, it's the real-world distractions that can be the most dangerous to teen drivers. Toyota Driving Expectations goes beyond what is currently taught in typical driver training classes in order to help teens identify and react to dangerous driving situations. To better understand the critical relationship between distractions and reaction time, teens and parents navigate a driving course while drinking water, listening to loud music and talking on a cell phone. They also experience hard braking maneuvers on wet and dry pavement and maneuver through multiple slalom driving courses under the watchful eyes of professional drivers.
"Toyota is committed to providing teens with the tools they need to be better prepared on the road and to become better drivers," said Michael Rouse, Toyota's corporate manager of national philanthropy and community affairs. "Since its inception in 2004, more than 4,000 teens and parents have successfully completed the Toyota Driving Expectations program, which was developed after several pilots and valuable feedback from teens, parents and the National Safety Council."
Another unique aspect of Toyota Driving Expectations is that a parent or guardian must accompany the teen driver to the four-hour program. Parents and teens are split into separate groups for part of the course, allowing parents to learn about vehicle safety technology, defensive driving and how to design and set realistic expectations for their teen. The program concludes with teens and parents reuniting to develop a safe driving contract to be put into practice when the families return home.
The National Safety Council has been involved with the Toyota program since the beginning and has provided input on curriculum development. The program includes elements of the Council's signature programs including the Defensive Driving Course-Alive at 25 and Teen Driver: A Family Guide to Teen Driver Safety.
"Toyota Driving Expectations provides teens with important skill development opportunities while providing parents with the knowledge and tools to keep their teens safe," said John Ulczycki, director of the Transportation Safety Group of the National Safety Council. "Teens will develop specific driving skills and a better understanding of how to deal with peer issues and situations that can affect their driving and lead to crashes. Parents will learn about the risks associated with teen drivers, how to better manage those risks and how to be an effective coach for their teen driver."
Toyota Driving Expectations is a free program and is being offered at the following locations in 2007:
-- Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, NJ, 4/13 - 4/15
-- Six Flags Great America, Gurnee, IL, 4/20 - 4/22
-- DTE Energy Music Center, Clarkston, MI, 4/27 - 4/29
-- Santa Anita Race Track, Arcadia, CA, 10/12 - 10/14
-- Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale, AZ, 10/19 - 10/21 and 10/26 - 10/28
For more information, please visit http://www.toyotadrivingexpectations.com/
Toyota (NYSE:TM) established operations in North America in 1957 and will operate 15 manufacturing plants in North America by 2008. There are more than 1,700 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealerships in North America which sell more than 2.5 million vehicles a year. Toyota directly employs over 38,000 in North America and its investment here is currently valued at more than $16.8 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design. In 2005, Toyota U.S.A. contributed nearly $41 million to U.S. philanthropic programs, with a majority of funding supporting education. The company's main Web site is http://www.toyota.com/