For many, a car represents freedom, flexibility, and accessibility. Unfortunately, for others, it can bring thoughts of tragedy and danger. Car safety is an issue that impacts all of us, and there are some who have directly been affected by hazards involving cars. The National Safety Council estimates that there were approximately 40,000 traffic deaths last year. While this is a drop from 2016, it is still a cause for concern. Various government agencies, as well as OEMs, have established initiatives to address safety issues, but dealers are in a unique position to encourage the customers they have face-to-face contact with to make smarter decisions while driving. Here are four ways dealers are raising awareness for car safety and addressing significant concerns in their communities.
Raising Awareness for Child Deaths in Vehicles
From 1998 to 2016, approximately 705 children have passed away in cars due to heatstroke. In 2015, over 660 children died in motor vehicle accidents, and 35 percent were not wearing a seatbelt. Some dealers are choosing simple yet effective ways to increase awareness about the importance of keeping children safe while driving. Sometimes, the written word can be incredibly informative and compelling. Antwerpen Hyundai in Clarksville, Maryland has a blog that addresses safety tips for handling winter weather. They go into detail about why parents should not leave children in cars, and ways to drive safely in a climate that gives many people in their community trouble.
Another exemplary example of dealers promoting child car safety is the Toyota Buckle Up for Life Program. In 2004, Toyota partnered with the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to raise awareness about the importance of putting young children in car seats. Typically, each year Toyota will partner with hospitals around the country to distribute car seats to parents. Many Toyota dealers participate by discussing the importance of car seats and guiding them to locations where they can receive free seats if needed.
Promoting Hands-Free Driving
In Georgia, the state’s first hands-free driving bill will go into effect on July 1. The bill prevents drivers from holding or handling a phone (for any reason) while driving. Many other states also have laws on the books that prevent phone handling and texting while driving. A well-known Atlanta dealership group has recognized the importance of discouraging distracted driving. The Jim Ellis Automotive Group began the “Jim Ellis Pledge to Drive Safe” in 2017. The automotive group’s site has a form that individuals can fill out pledging their safety not to drive distracted. They have also donated over $20,000 to the National Safety Council, and even place coasters in vehicles that tout the pledge’s message.
Bringing Attention to Breast Cancer
While this is not necessarily related to car safety, it is estimated that over 40,000 individuals (men and women) will be impacted by breast cancer this year. These people are car drivers and potential car buyers in the communities of dealerships all across the country. Raising awareness about the importance of funding breast cancer initiatives and research is a large part of many dealership charitable efforts.
In October, at Four Stars Auto Ranch in Henrietta, Texas, the dealership paints their entrance pink to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The dealership also holds health seminars for women during the first part of the month. At Deny Menholt Chevrolet in Cody, Wyoming, whenever a person purchases a car during October, the dealership donates $100 in their name to the Big Horn Basin Regional Cancer Center. The Harnish Auto Family Group in Washington pledged to give to the Carol Milgard Breast Center for every test drive in October. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to dealerships doing what they can to further the cause of breast cancer awareness.
Educating Teens on Safe Driving
Car crashes are one of the leading causes of deaths among teenagers. It is likely that most parents have this information in the back of their minds as they pass the keys to their son or daughter. The DCH Auto Group, with dealerships in the northeast and southern California, developed a Teen Safe Driving Program. It is a teen-focused diving-safety community outreach initiative meant to teach teens in the communities of local dealerships about the importance of safe driving. The group raises awareness through education, promoting dialogue between parents and teens, and advocacy. The group has even partnered with Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) to promote peer-to-peer safe driving education.
Dealers can be excellent advocates for safe driving and health initiatives. Unlike government agencies, and OEMs, dealers have direct contact with potential car buyers. They have an ear to the ground when it comes to some of the most significant car safety concerns. Dealers have the opportunity not only to sell cars, but to help the communities they serve use them responsibly. They can genuinely leave the cities and towns they work with better than they found them.