Nascar Driver David Ragan to Educate Teens on Safe Driving

By: Lisa Ziegler

As a part of AAA Foundation's campaign to reduce vehicle accidents involving teen drivers ages 15 to 20, David Ragan, one of the youngest drivers in NASCAR is working in conjunction with AAA to educate teen drivers about the significance of safe driving as well as car maintenance inspection. During the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series last February, David Ragan, aged 21 finished the race obtaining the 5th spot.

David Ragan will travel in schools and other institutions across the United States to speak with youngsters and discuss the safety measures and maintenance check tips for their vehicles. Ragan will also share his safe driving techniques and demonstrate them. In fact, Ragan has already visited some high schools in Daytona Beach and in Las Vegas and performed some demo.

According to David Ragan, driver of the No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion in the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series: "I know the challenges young drivers face. There are a lot of temptations and distractions that can cause inexperienced drivers to loose focus. Managing the driving environment and anticipating what can happen on the road is as important for teen drivers as it is for professional race car drivers. Part of the process is being mentally prepared to drive, buckling up and thinking about the conditions under which you will be driving. It also has to do with not allowing your attention to wander from the road, anticipate turns, change lanes or know when to slow down or speed up. AAA has training materials that can help teens master these skills and become safer drivers at AAA.com."

"In racing, we rely on trained professionals to prepare and maintain our vehicles. Teens also need to have their vehicles inspected and maintained by qualified technicians. Many young people start by driving older cars and trucks with a lot of miles on them. They need to have brakes, steering components and suspensions checked. Tires, lights, fluid lines and other items that can wear out need attention too. That's something AAA's Approved Auto Repair program can help them with. By driving for AAA and its 50 million members this year - and taking the opportunities they are providing to speak with teen drivers - I'm hoping I can shorten the learning curve and improve the margin of safety for people not much younger than myself." he continued.

Meanwhile, according to a research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are mote than 300,000 teens aged 15 to 20 are injured in car crashes every year and nearly 8,000 are involved in fatal crashes. NHTSA also said that more than 3,500 teens are killed in these car crashes each year. Moreover, NHTSA also said that young drivers "are more likely to speed, run red lights, make illegal turns, and die in SUV rollover." Teen drivers should get the Jeep Patriot SUV with quality and Side Occupant Protection System to avoid injuries during rollover crashes.

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