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Toyota Driving Program Battles Teen Crash Fatalities by Teaching Families Safe Driving Habits

NEW YORK, March 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Teenage drivers are involved in fatal traffic accidents at more than twice the rate of the rest of the U.S. population, and motor vehicle crashes still remain the leading cause of death among teens. Committed to battling these statistics, Toyota is continuing its hands-on, national teen and parent advanced driving skills program, "Toyota Driving Expectations," in 2008.

Offered free of charge in cities across the country, the program goes beyond what is taught in typical driver training classes by putting teens behind the wheel to face challenging, real-world scenarios under the supervision of professional drivers. It is also one of the only programs of its kind that hosts teens and their parents so they can learn how to drive more safely together. Safety is a priority for Toyota, and the program's curriculum addresses the fact that the best safety features in any moving vehicle are the mind and hands of the driver.

"Toyota is committed to safe driving and equipping teens with the tools and confidence they need to become better drivers," said Michael Rouse, Toyota's corporate manager of national philanthropy and community affairs. "Since the program's debut in 2004, Toyota Driving Expectations has touched the lives of more than 7,500 teens and parents, creating an open dialogue within families to develop and maintain safe driving habits."

Each four-hour Toyota Driving Expectations program begins with an opening session for all participants where they are introduced to the privilege and risk associated with driving as well as the program's curriculum, which includes driving courses and classroom-style sessions with tailored content on a broad range of driving-related topics.

The driving courses help teens practice how to best keep their eyes on the road, learn about how anti-lock braking systems work on both wet and dry roads and demonstrate how everyday distractions, to which new drivers are especially prone, can have unexpected, hazardous effects. Parents also drive a distraction course so they can experience how reducing focus on the road poses serious dangers. At the end of the program, to reinforce what they learned, teens and parents develop a safe driving contract together to be put into practice when they return home.

A leading resource on strategies for advancing safety and health programs, The National Safety Council has been involved with Toyota Driving Expectations since its inception. The program includes elements of the Council's signature driving programs, including Alive at 25 and Family Guide to Teen Drivers. In spring of 2008, a Toyota Driving Expectations event will be held at the following locations with more to be announced this fall:

 -- Charlotte Knights Stadium, Fort Mill, S.C., 4/4 - 4/6 -- Atlanta Motor Speedway, Atlanta, Ga., 4/11 - 4/13 and 4/18 - 4/20 -- Suffolk Downs, East Boston, Mass., 4/25 - 4/27 -- Belmont Park Race Track, Elmont, N.Y., 5/2 - 5/4 For more information, please visit 

About Toyota

Toyota established operations in North America in 1957 and currently operates 13 manufacturing plants. In addition, new plants are under construction in Ontario, Canada and Mississippi. There are more than 1,700 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealerships in North America which sold more than 2.9 million vehicles in 2007. Toyota directly employs over 43,000 in North America and its investment here is currently valued at more than $21 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design. Toyota's annual purchasing of parts, materials, goods and services from North American suppliers totals more than $30 billion. According to a 2005 Center for Automotive Research study, Toyota, along with its dealers and suppliers, has generated nearly 400,000 U.S. jobs, including jobs created through spending by direct, dealer and suppliers employees. For more information about Toyota, visit

 Media Contact: Ann Melkessetian GolinHarris for Toyota (213) 438-8735 

CONTACT: Ann Melkessetian of GolinHarris, +1-213-438-8735,, for Toyota

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