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NASCAR driver Elliott Sadler took time before the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway to visit students and their parents at Colleyville Heritage High School outside Dallas on Thursday, October 30, to talk about the importance of teen safe driving. Sadler was joined by SPEED TV personality John Roberts.
Sadler, who won at Texas Motor Speedway in 2004, came to the school as part of the Allstate Teen Safe Driving Pit Stop. This program is a national partnership between Allstate and Gillett Evernham Motorsports that highlights the importance of teen safe driving to high school students and their parents in key race markets across the country. Sadler spoke to the crowd of more than 300 about how his racing experiences on the track have made him a better driver off of it.
“I’m a much more cautious motorist,” said Sadler, driver of the No. 19 Stanley Tools Dodge. “Having 42 other drivers going around the track at nearly 200 miles per hour makes you very aware of your surroundings - one mistake can cause a major accident, just like on the street.”
According to the Allstate America’s Teen Driving Hotspots study released in May, more than 5,000 teens die each year in car crashes. The study also ranked the 50 largest metro areas by their teen driving fatality score. The Dallas / Ft. Worth metro area ranked 17th worst in the country with a Teen Fatal Crash Rate of almost 27 per 100,000 teens.
Sadler and Roberts encouraged students and their parents to improve their communication as it relates to teen driving. To help make this possible, Allstate has created a Parent-Teen Driving Contract, a catalyst of conversation between the parents and their teens. The contract, available at www.allstate.com/teen, allows both parties to set rules and consequences if those rules are broken as it relates to a teen’s driving.
Roberts, who has three children, including a teenage son, is glad that Allstate came out with this contract.
“Sitting down with my son Jordan to fill out the contract was a great opportunity for us to discuss the dangers of driving,” Roberts said. “Safe driving is one of those topics that can be difficult to talk to your children about. The contract is a great vehicle to start the conversation.”
Although Sadler never had a physical contract with his parents when he began driving, there was a strong verbal agreement.
“I was told by my parents the day I got my license that driving is a privilege and can be taken away just as fast as it is granted,” Sadler recalled. “They told me speed on the race track is fine, but when I was on the street, I had to obey every traffic law and prove that I was responsible enough to have a driver’s license.”
Those who attended the event had the opportunity to visit the Allstate Safety Zone, an interactive safe driving mobile display that features various safety devices that help keep NASCAR drivers safe on the track. They also had the chance to complete the Parent-Teen Driving Contract at computer kiosks. Sadler and Roberts even tested the crowd’s racing knowledge with trivia questions, with autographed No. 19 hats going to those who answered the questions correctly.
Photo credit: Khampha Bouaphanh