CHAMPCAR/CART: Drivers promote Hands on the Wheel program

Champ Car Implores All Drivers to Keep Your "Hands on the Wheel" this Holiday Season Racers Power, Pagenaud, Clarke and Legge among the Champ Car community encouraging fans to drive safely and stop texting while driving INDIANAPOLIS,...

Champ Car Implores All Drivers to Keep Your "Hands on the Wheel" this Holiday Season

Racers Power, Pagenaud, Clarke and Legge among the Champ Car community encouraging fans to drive safely and stop texting while driving

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (Nov. 19, 2007)-- With Thanksgiving on tap this week, Champ Car is kicking its 'Hands on the Wheel' safe-driving campaign into high gear this month, hoping to keep the roads safe during the busy Holiday season.

With many people set to get behind the wheel of their vehicles to visit friends and family, Champ Car's drivers, partners and other stakeholders are encouraging everyone to go to www.handsonthewheel.org and take the pledge to not be a distracted driver.

"Champ Car gets involved in lots of good causes, but this is one we're really passionate about," Champ Car driver Katherine Legge explained during a Indianapolis high school appearance. "It's one that does really predominate in a lot of young people's minds."

Four Champ Car World Series drivers based in Indianapolis--Legge, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud and Dan Clarke-- visited Hamilton Southeastern High School in Fishers, Indiana last Friday to encourage students to keep their "Hands on the Wheel" while driving. At a special convocation at the school, the quick quartet talked to a select group of student leaders about "Hands on the Wheel," the Champ Car cause campaign designed to encourage safe driving habits. The drivers encouraged the student leaders to spread the word among their fellow students and family members, especially ahead of the holiday driving season.

The program wants people to stay 100 percent focused on driving when behind the wheel of a car. Recent statistics show that 80 percent of all crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes are caused by distracted drivers.

"When you're driving a 200-miles-per-hour Champ Car, you absolutely have to concentrate on what you're doing," says Power, who won two Champ Car races in 2007. "But just because you're going slower while driving your regular car on public roads doesn't mean you don't have to concentrate. You need to be focused any time you get behind the wheel of any car."

Added Pagenaud, a Champ Car rookie this season: "This is a very good program because it makes you think about what you are doing. By keeping your hands on the wheel, you are avoiding dangerous activities and driving the way you are supposed to drive. We ask everybody to go online and take the pledge before they take to the road."

Launched in August, the program encourages drivers to taking simple steps to avoid distraction, and sign an online pledge at www.handsonthewheel.org to follow guidelines set forth in the "Hands on the Wheel" campaign. Drivers pledge to refrain from many unsafe driving habits, such as text messaging, street racing or not using a safety belt while operating a vehicle. Two recent studies estimated that one-third of all young drivers text message while driving, so the campaign is aimed particularly at young drivers.

Champ Car is building an educational platform to deliver the message about the dangers that exist when text messaging--along with other unsafe driving practices--by utilizing the best messengers available: Champ Car drivers. Champ Car will be utilizing the off-season to conduct special driver appearances designed to raise awareness about "Hands on the Wheel."

-credit: ccws

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Series INDYCAR