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Toyota Teen/Parent Driving Program Aims to Set “Driving Expectations”

Toyota pilot program teaches defensive-driving techniques via real world scenarios

SAN ANTONIO – One of the most important events in a teenager’s life is getting a driver’s license. But while teens account for just 6.3 percent of licensed drivers, they account for 13.6 percent of all crash fatalities[i].

In an effort to improve those odds, Toyota is piloting a new educational program called “Toyota Driving Expectations,” designed to teach teens and parents alike about defensive driving techniques against a backdrop of real world scenarios. The free program will be held in San Antonio Friday, Nov. 18 through Sunday, Nov. 20 at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Registration is available at www.ToyotaDrivingExpectations.com or call (310) 536-3078 for more information.

Toyota Driving Expectations invites teens and their parents to a four-hour program consisting of multiple driving courses and classroom instruction. Endorsed by Mayor Phil Hardberger, the San Antonio Chief of Police Albert Ortiz and the Texas Department of Transportation, the program goes beyond what is currently taught in driver training classes to provide teens with the knowledge and experience they need to identify dangerous driving situations. The program is designed to help drivers use appropriate defensive-driving maneuvers to avoid accidents and to minimize those behaviors preventing them from devoting their full attention to driving safely. Driving instructors are professional drivers that have participated in SCCA, Grand-Prix, Grand-Am pro, Indy car and Indy lites race wins and championships.

“Statistics show that one in five teens is involved in an accident during his or her first year on the road, mostly due to lack of experience,” said Michael Rouse, corporate manager philanthropy and community affairs Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. “This course is intended to give teens the tools necessary to deal with what really happens on the road and helps parents model safe driving behavior for their teens.”

A unique aspect of the program is that a parent or guardian must accompany the teen driver to the four-hour program. Besides the minimum mandatory driver training courses in high school, teens tend to spend most of their time learning from their parents.

However, parents never receive training on how to properly teach defensive driving and give feedback to their children. In the Toyota Driving Expectations program, parents and teens are split into separate groups for part of the day allowing parents to learn about vehicle safety, technology, defensive-driving habits and how to design and set parameters for their teen. The program concludes with the teens and parents reuniting to develop a safe driving contract to be put to practice once the families return home.

Toyota has a long history of commitment to vehicle safety through product development and testing, but the best safety device is an educated driver. The Toyota Driving Expectations pilot program allows Toyota to move beyond vehicle technology and offer teens the knowledge and experience necessary to be safe drivers.

About Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc.

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. is the marketing, sales, distribution and customer service arm of Toyota, Lexus and Scion in the United States, marketing products and services through a network of 1,422 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealers in 49 states. Established in 1957, TMS and its subsidiaries also are involved in distribution logistics, motorsports and general aviation. The company’s main Web site is http://www.toyota.com.