Dale Earnhardt Jr. Encourages Drivers to Avoid Distracted Driving In New National Ad Campaign Highlighting Sprint Drive First App
Ad will run during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race telecasts and other NASCAR programing on network and cable television
OVERLAND PARK, Kan.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- As one of the most recognizable names in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS, knows the risks of being distracted while driving. Now, he’s participating in a new TV ad by Sprint (NYSE: S ) that will air during National Distracted Driving Awareness month and beyond to educate drivers about the Sprint Drive First app, which helps drivers avoid the distraction of texting while driving.
The 30-second ad, created by Sprint and its agency, Team Sprint – Digitas and Leo Burnett – features Earnhardt using the Sprint Drive First™ mobile application, which can block and send automatic replies to text messages while you drive. The overarching message is that driving isn’t a problem, and texting isn’t a problem; we can all help end texting and driving by using the Sprint Drive First application, which helps remove the temptation to drive and text at the same time. The ad concludes with the phrase, “We can all live without the ‘and.’”
“It’s really easy to get distracted while you’re driving but the Sprint Drive First app takes away the temptation to drive and text,” said Earnhardt Jr. “The technology used to create a safer driving environment is awesome and I’m happy to be the messenger for Sprint during National Distracted Driving Awareness month.”
The ad features Earnhardt Jr. with two crew members in the garage at a track. One of them says, “Hey, Dale, I got your text that said you couldn’t text.” Then the other says, “Wait. What? Why would he text that he couldn’t text?” Earnhardt replies: “I was driving,” igniting a group discussion about how and why a text is sent when the person who sends the text doesn’t actually send it – all of which refers to the Sprint Drive First app and how it sends reply text messages while someone is driving.
“With drivers 23 times more likely to crash if they’re texting while driving,* the issue of distracted driving continues to be of great concern to Sprint,” said Bill White, senior vice president-Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility. “Sprint chose to work with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in this new ad campaign because he lends a credible and recognizable voice to this important issue. This ad will help educate drivers about the importance responsible driving behavior, which we believe could save lives.”
An additional video will be shown at the Sprint Unlimited Experience, a fan interactive display Sprint has set up at tracks each weekend throughout the season. In that video Earnhardt Jr. invites fans to interact with him and try to distract him by texting his number as he gets into the simulator. As the simulated race begins a message appears that reads: “Hey, I got your text but I’m driving right now. I’m using Sprint’s Drive First app. You should check it out at Sprint.com/drive.”
Sprint Drive First
The Sprint Drive First application locks an Android mobile phone when the phone’s GPS detects motion above 10 miles per hour. Sprint Drive First can direct incoming calls to voice mail and silences distracting alerts. A customizable auto-response can be sent to all text messages, which are held until the driver comes to a stop.
Sprint Drive First is available on Sprint Android™-powered smartphones for $2 per month per phone (excluding surcharges and taxes). Sprint customers can sign up and receive a 15-day free trial by downloading the app from Google Play or visiting www.sprint.com/drive. Sprint Drive First is also part of Sprint Guardian, a bundle of safety- and security-oriented services for families. Sprint Guardian also includes Sprint Mobile Controls, Sprint Family Locator and Lookout Family Mobile Security.
Sprint’s commitment to combat distracted driving behavior
Distraction is a real problem not just for teens and adults, but also for those who spend a lot of time behind the wheel, such as long-haul truck drivers, delivery drivers, sales representatives and field employees. Sprint has been a leading provider of fleet solutions for more than three decades and provides solutions to business with fleets that help drivers focus on the road (see further details below).
Since 2005, Sprint has worked on behalf of its customers and employees on the issue of distracted driving by partnering with schools, nonprofit organizations and product developers on various programs to help combat texting while driving and promote responsible driving, including:
- Sprint’s Don’t Drive Distracted Pledge: Sprint asks that its employees and customers make a commitment to driving responsibly by signing the Sprint Don’t Drive Distracted pledge.
- Thumb Wars: Sprint supports DoSomething.org’s Thumb Wars campaign, which provides thumb socks as a visual reminder to help stop teens from texting while driving. In addition to providing thumb socks, the campaign educates teens on the dangers of texting while driving, asks them to pledge to stop texting while driving, and encourages them to be ambassadors of this initiative by sharing it with their family and friends.
- DriveCam: Sprint also works with companies that develop wireless embedded communication solutions to reduce distracted driving. DriveCam offers a driving safety program based on a video event recorder wirelessly enabled by Sprint. When g-forces indicate distracted driving, it sends a video to DriveCam, which then provides a professional safety analysis that fleet managers or parents of teens can use in coaching their driver. American Family Insurance makes it available as its Teen Safe Driver ProgramSM at no charge for its customers.
- FleetSafer: Sprint works with Aegis Mobility to help commercial fleet operators promote safe, legal and responsible use of smartphones. FleetSafer is the first solution to help ensure compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules requiring mobile phone calls made by interstate truck and bus drivers to be both “one-touch” and hands-free. The application ensures that smartphones and tablets conform to the organization’s safety policies and best practices regarding texting, emailing or communicating while driving.
- Uconnect Access: Sprint works with Chrysler Group on a new Connected Car experience that promotes driver focus and provides driver assistance. Select Chrysler Group Uconnect systems now offer an included trial of the new Uconnect Access services that helps drivers maintain their focus on the road by using voice texting and one-touch 9-1-1 calling, roadside or vehicle assistance.
More information about Sprint’s focus on driving efforts can be found at www.sprint.com/drive. At this site visitors can access a database of useful distracted-driving mobile applications and find other helpful resources on responsible driving behavior.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 55 million customers at the end of 2012 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint No. 1 among all national carriers in customer satisfaction and most improved, across all 47 industries, during the last four years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in both its 2011 and 2012 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.
*Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, July 2009
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