Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for more than one in three deaths in this age group. In 2005, twelve teens ages 16-19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries. (CDC, 2008)

Most of these accidents have one thing in common: They were preventable!

"The King" of NASCAR knows first-hand that safe driving is smart driving, and he is dedicated to reducing and preventing incidents of highway crashes among adolescents.

In 2007, Richard Petty Driving Experience partnered with Clemson University through its Automotive Safety Research Institute (ASRI) to create a research-based approach to improving driver skills, attitudes, knowledge, and behavior whereby young drivers can become safe drivers.

This program is designed for drivers in the highest risk category (ages 15 to 25) with the goal of creating situational awareness by placing participants in compromising driving situations in a controlled environment. Professional driving instructors educate students about the dangers and responsibilities of operating motor vehicles and address high-risk driving circumstances, including driving with passengers in the peer group, optimistic bias, adolescent emotionality, cell phones, drinking and driving, and seat belt use. Safe Driving provides competency-based training in both classroom and on-track settings that recognizes individual differences and is tailored to address the specific skill deficiencies of adolescent drivers.

Richard Petty's Safe Driving programs are held regularly at Charlotte Motor Speedway and other facilities in Atlanta, Ga., Chicago, Ill., Fontana, Calif., and Orlando Fla. Young drivers can reserve their place in the Safe Driving Program by calling 1-800-BE-PETTY.