Tackling Distracted Driving

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Teen drivers joined professional race car drivers to tackle a special course designed to show the potential downside of distracted driving.

Cummins Heavy Duty Engine Business took aim recently at the problem of distracted driving among new drivers.

The business unit sponsored the inaugural Start Smart 2012 Teen Driver Safety Rally Aug. 25 in Columbus, Ind.

“Did you know car crashes are the leading cause of death for American teenagers?” asked Ed Pence, Vice President and General Manager – Heavy Duty Engine Business in announcing the rally.

“Cummins has partnered with the American Trucking Association (ATA) and local sponsors to host a training-and-educational fair to teach student drivers tips to keep our roads safe,” he said.

The rally took over the Central Avenue parking lot at the Columbus Engine Plant and featured a number of attractions including:

Cummins Heavy Duty Engine Business took aim recently at the problem of distracted driving among new drivers.

  • ATA Interstate One: This 53-foot show truck has all sorts of interactive displays, staffed by America’s Road Team, a collection of veteran truck drivers with stellar safety records to answer questions about driving near trucks.
  • Distracted Driving Course: Licensed teen drivers had the opportunity to drive a new Mini Cooper with a professional racecar driver on a specially prepared course. The winner won entry into a full-day high performance driving course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
  • Arrive Alive Game: Open to all high school students, players competed in this online game to acquire the most safety points during a 1,000 mile journey. The winner received an iPad while the second and third place finishers won iPod nanos.

The day also featured various vendor booths, how-to-clinics and more.

Cummins has prohibited employees from using their cell phones while driving on Company business for more than two years. Cummins acted because car crashes are a leading cause of on-the-job injuries across all industries and both inside and outside the United States.

In addition to the rally, Cummins teamed up with Sara Bean, a Columbus East High School Senior who for her senior year project worked with the Company’s video staff to produce a video warning of the potential consequences of distracted driving.

“Teens everywhere are not driving safely – even in the school parking lot,” Bean said. “Many are driving too fast and are often distracted by phones or loud music. It’s putting themselves and other drivers around them at risk.

“…This project allowed me to make a difference in the community and keep classmates and friends safe,” she added “And hopefully it will make a positive impact on teens throughout the city. It’s been tremendous to be part of a project with so many dedicated partners who share the goal of improving safety for our teen drivers.”

Tyler Stilwell, a former Cummins safety official who now works in Cummins Emission Solutions, also appears as the distracted driver in the video and helped organize the rally.

“My hope is that this can be an annual event,” he said. “Too many lives are being forever altered for the worse by distracted driving.”

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