- Toyota has launched TeenDrive365, a driving safety program to help eliminate the dangers that accompany a teen's critical first year of having a driver's license.
- The initiative brings parents and teens together through a Web site that contains expert tips, quizzes, guides to defensive driving classes and social-media exchanges.
- Toyota's research shows that parents are the biggest influence on how a teen will behave behind the wheel.
NEW YORK — Toyota wants to slam the brakes on the leading cause of death for teens: auto accidents.
The automaker has launched TeenDrive365, a driving safety program that focuses on eliminating the dangers that accompany a teen's critical first year of having a driver's license.
The initiative brings parents and teens together through online tools at TeenDrive365.com.
It offers expert advice and tips, training videos, a guide to defensive-driving courses across the country, a safe driving contract to help new drivers understand their parents' expectations and a social-media quiz that answers the age-old question: Who knows more about rules of the road — parents or teens?
It also links to the Toyota Teen Driver Video Challenge, which encourages new drivers to create short videos that inspire their friends to avoid driving distractions. The prize is $15,000.
Toyota hopes the program convinces parents to model safer driving behaviors for their teens.
This premise is based on scientific research from Toyota's Collaborative Safety Research Center study 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.
"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, in a statement.
"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."
Edmunds says: Parents can be their new driver's best teacher.