Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. is teaming up with 19-year-old Tristan Nunez, a Mazda Factory professional race car driver and distracted driving awareness advocate, to call attention to the dangers of distracted driving.
The partnership will include speaking appearances, web and social media efforts, and Cooper and Nunez will collaborate throughout 2015 on additional efforts to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving as part of the ongoing alliance.
While Cooper and Nunez are focused on raising awareness of the dangers of distracted driving for all age groups, the initial focus of the partnership is on younger drivers as statistics show teens are distracted nearly a quarter of the time they are behind the wheel. Quickly rising in the world of professional racing as a full-time driver in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Series, Nunez has been working to help educate and empower drivers to make better decisions behind the wheel.
Nunez launched the Dnt txt n drV Foundation in 2014, and has already been a keynote speaker at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Teen Distracted Driving Prevention Summit. In April he addressed the Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities, which is the largest gathering of highway safety professionals in the U.S. With appearances at schools dotted throughout his race schedule, Nunez actively encourages high school students to sign a pledge against texting and driving.
“I’ve had a long-standing relationship with Cooper as a racing sponsor, and won a championship on Cooper tires in 2012,” says Nunez. “So, it means a lot for me to expand my relationship with Cooper off the track to focus on driver safety. It may come as a shock, but I often feel safer driving on the race track than I do in normal traffic due to the rise of distracted driving.
"I’m glad Cooper is as passionate about this cause as I am. The company has been a long-time advocate of proper tire maintenance and tire safety, and together with my focus on the dangers of distracted driving, we make a great team to help everyday drivers—especially young ones—be safer.”
“At Cooper, we craft quality, reliable tires with innovative features that meet the needs of all kinds of drivers,” says Mike Simon, Cooper’s vice president of marketing. “Yet, when consumer behavior—like teens driving while distracted—interferes with their wellbeing on the road, it’s time to put a strong voice like Tristan’s behind the cause and align with it.
"Research shows that the average consumer is never more than three feet away from their phone. With this type of temptation so near, it’s vital that we share tips on how to mitigate or remove the dangers."
Some of the tips for drivers include stowing cell phones in the trunk of the car before driving, downloading an app that disables cells phones while in motion, or even asking a passenger to respond to texts or calls while driving.
In addition, Cooper has extensive tire safety and maintenance information on a dedicated safety section on www.coopertire.com and the company is developing innovations to help drivers keep an eye on the condition of their tires. For example, Cooper’s premium passenger CS5 Touring and the SUV/CUV dedicated Discoverer SRX tires feature the company’s consumer-friendly feature—the Wear Square incorporated into the tread design at six reference points around the tire. The Wear Square changes shape as tread wears, allowing drivers to visually assess the approximate remaining tread life and identify possible uneven wear or wheel alignment issues.