KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Everybody is talking about distracted driving, but the Cable Dahmer Auto Group is doing something about it. In its Eyes on the Road initiative, started last spring, the dealer group offers an eye-opening educational program aimed at teen drivers, featuring a driving simulator.
The Eyes on the Road program was the brainchild of Toby Boschert from the dealer's ad agency. He told Edmunds he presented it to Dealer Principal Carlos Ledezma, who had asked him for ideas to help the dealership make an impact in the community. Boschert found a Washington, D.C., company to supply a driving simulator, and the project was born.
The dealership has partnered with local TV station KMBC and has so far presented the program to four local high schools, Boschert said. Students view a video about distracted driving, and then they can sit in a Chevrolet Camaro — "might as well make it fun," he said — and run the simulation.
"We get the person's phone number so we can send them texts and show them what happens when they're driving distracted," he told Edmunds. The "game" ends when someone virtually drives off the road, hits a pedestrian, or makes contact with another vehicle in the simulator, at which point a "shattered glass" impression comes onto the screen, he said.
Starting in January, the simulator will make the rounds of Cable-Dahmer's four dealerships, appearing once a week at each location, to give customers a chance to improve their own safety awareness. Boschert said the dealership will also find ways to partner with other schools and businesses in the region to further expand the program's reach.
"Dealer Principal Carlos Ledezma has made a major commitment in equipment as well as personnel to make this work in the Kansas City market," said Boschert. "The entire organization has embraced the message and is doing all that we can to promote automotive safety.
"At the end of the day, this is probably not going to sell cars" in a direct way, Boschert said, but "it gives us the opportunity to make an impact on our community."
Edmunds says: This should win some loyalty from parents of kids in driver education — and maybe save lives as well.