PEABODY, Mass., June 13, 2011 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — BMW is known for incorporating the latest technology to protect drivers and passengers, but starting this month, the automaker and its dealerships are asking drivers themselves to improve safety on the road by focusing more on driving and less on texting. BMW dealers including BMW of Peabody will add their support to a corporate-sponsored campaign of radio, print, television and Internet ads designed to expose the dangers of distracted driving.
BMW already preaches “Don’t Txt & Drive” at its BMW Performance Center in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where it hosts its Teen Driving School using BMW 3 Series cars to teach car control to budding drivers. During the summer, BMW’s safe-driving campaign will be rolled out to the more than 100 teen driving schools run by the BMW Club of America Foundation in the hope of reaching an impressionable and high-risk group of drivers. Teen texting behind the wheel is currently widespread, with 87 percent of teen drivers admitting to the behavior, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“Anybody that drives in Massachusetts knows that distracted driving is a serious issue,” said Marshal Cabot, general manager of Massachusetts BMW dealer BMW of Peabody. “Massachusetts has laws prohibiting texting while driving, but it’s still prevalent. Younger drivers just don’t recognize how dangerous it can be, so hopefully BMW’s ad campaign will open some eyes.”
Statistics from the United States Department of Transportation reveal that nearly 5,500 people died in crashes caused by distracted drivers in 2009, and distracted driving has become a cornerstone issue for U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who has made it a priority to meet with automakers to discuss the issue.
BMW’s television ad for the campaign has started circulating, featuring overprotective parents and pointing out how their efforts can be undone in an instant by answering a phone call or replying to a text while driving. Various print ads reproduce the view from a distracted driver’s perspective, with one showing a phone preventing a driver from seeing a child running to catch a ball in the road. Participating websites will feature the phrase “Text Messaging Is Very Distracting” across their homepages in bold block letters, which should prove inconvenient enough to get BMW’s point across.
BMW’s commitment to end distracted driving reaches beyond the ad campaign. The German automaker is also designing its car interiors to help drivers keep their eyes on the road. Using data collected through pupilometry, which closely studies eye movements, BMW has been able to move important and commonly used controls and displays to areas that allow drivers to keep their attention on the road ahead.
“Automakers and drivers alike have a responsibility to fight distracted driving, and BMW is doing its part,” Cabot added. “Every year, automakers are adding more features and displays, but they also need to stress that there are limits to multitasking while driving. Eliminating texting behind the wheel is a big step in the right direction.”
About BMW of Peabody:
Located minutes from downtown Boston on Route 114, BMW of Peabody takes pride in offering some of the world’s finest vehicles, backing up every new and used BMW sale with their expert, customer-focused sales and service staff. Recognized as a top Greater Boston BMW dealer, BMW of Peabody is a five-time winner of the prestigious Center of Excellence Award and offers two BMW service centers to fit the schedules of its busy customers. See their full BMW inventory online at www.bmwpeabody.com, like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bmwofpeabody , visit their showroom at 221 Andover Street in Peabody or call them at 978-538-9900.
Lori Connolly, of Lyon-Waugh Auto Group, 978-532-8312