Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for American teens. The yearly increase in numbers of alcohol-related crashes for teens begins to occur during April and May — prom and graduation season — according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Nissan North America and the Tennessee Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) are stepping up and talking to teens about the importance of avoiding distracted driving, and other harmful behaviors behind the wheel, as part of the ThinkFast program. The interactive, game-show-format teen awareness initiative officially kicked off in April, just in time for National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. With Nissan’s support, the number of ThinkFast events will more than double from previous years, taking place at more than 110 Tennessee high schools and middle schools statewide, with program completion in the fall.
“Nissan’s commitment to driver and passenger safety is reflected in the ThinkFast program,” said Bob Yakushi, director of Product Safety, Nissan North America, Inc. “Nissan has a vision of eliminating teen accidents and fatalities by instilling safe driving habits in students before they get their driver’s licenses – just one of many safety education initiatives in place to help reduce the number of auto-related injuries and fatalities. This vision aligns with Nissan’s global Vision Zero, which aims to help reduce the number of accidents through the development of safety technologies, with a goal of ultimately reducing fatalities and serious injuries in Nissan vehicles to zero.”
Since 2006, GHSO has worked to decrease the number of teen vehicle fatalities and serious injuries through the ThinkFast program. Historically, GHSO has been able to offer ThinkFast to 35 to 40 counties in the state starting with those that have the highest fatalities among teen drivers. This year, with the support of Nissan North America, GHSO is able to add an additional 75 schools, bringing the total to more than 110 throughout Tennessee, allowing more teens to be educated on the risks associated with drunk or distracted driving.
“Our ultimate goal is to greatly reduce, and perhaps even eliminate, motor vehicle deaths throughout Tennessee,” said Kendell Poole, Director of Tennessee’s Governor’s Highway Safety Office. “Thanks to Nissan North America’s commitment to safety education, we’ve significantly increased our existing efforts. We’re excited to partner with a company that is equally passionate about the safety of our youth.”
Beginning in April, Tennessee students aged 12 to 18 will compete against their peers in the game-show-format contest. The program, complete with a full production set, mainstream music, an entertaining host, and informative and engaging trivia that appeals to teens, is designed to spread the messages of impaired driving prevention and awareness continuously and consistently.
A typical ThinkFast show is 75 to 90 minutes long and consists of two rounds, with 20 questions per round. The audience uses wireless remote controls to answer trivia questions on a variety of topics, including pop culture, movies, music, driver safety and distracted driving avoidance. ThinkFast aims to provide students with information that can facilitate healthy choices while offering an exciting educational experience that can extend to the real world.
Editor’s note: A video of the ThinkFast program is available here.