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For Immediate Release,
Kathy Lane
Communications Director
(630) 775-2307

Americans Not Doing Enough to Ensure Safe Driving; Safe Behaviors Need to Start Before Turning the Key

Wayne, NJ - A new study released today shows Americans need to be re-educated about proper car safety standards. A public opinion survey, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for the National Safety Council and Castrol GTX Start Up™, reveals that 93 percent of Americans are hitting the roads ill prepared -- therefore increasing their chances of a road incident.

"For so long, safe driving discussions have centered on safety while driving that Americans have almost forgotten to take the proper safety precautions before starting their cars," said Chuck Hurley, NSC transportation safety group vice president. "While some may see it as mundane, the reality is that in a tricky driving situation, having followed the start-up safety precautions before turning the key can make the difference between safety and a disaster."

Correct behaviors conducted before starting the car can help combat two of the leading causes of serious car crashes - seatbelt use and incorrectly inflated or unevenly worn tires. In 2003, incorrectly inflated or unevenly worn tires contributed to more than 20,000 serious auto incidents.

NSC and Castrol GTX Start Up™ conducted their first-ever survey on motorists' pre-start inspections and behaviors to determine if Americans were following proper safety guidelines before they start up their cars. "We were surprised when nine out of 10 respondents admitted to not following them," added Hurley.

The survey results led to the creation of the Start Up for Safety Campaign - a collaboration between NSC and Castrol GTX Start Up™ that is designed to emphasize the importance of taking proper safety precautions before turning the key.

"We're very proud to be working with NSC on the Start Up for Safety Campaign. Safety is our number one priority at BP Lubricants Americas and it shows in everything we do," said Ian Zaslansky, Castrol GTX Start Up™ brand manager.

More Findings
While 99 percent of survey respondents rated themselves as safe drivers, 9 out of 10 do not conduct the appropriate safety checks before starting their cars. The survey also questioned respondents on their overall driving behavior and uncovered other surprising findings:


  • Distance does not make a difference.
    Only 9 percent of drivers always conduct NSC's recommended safety checks before they take a two hour - or longer - driving trip.
  • Men put the pedal to the metal.
    Drivers who reported aggressive driving behavior and exceeding the speed limit tended to be men.
  • The phone is not off the hook.
    Less than 20 percent of drivers who use cell phones turn them off before driving. NSC believes that a driver's first responsibility is the safe operation of the vehicle and that best practice is to not use electronic devices including cell phones while driving.
  • We are a nation of speeders.
    One out of three respondents said it was acceptable to drive more than five miles over the speed limit on interstate highways.
  • Women aren't as safe as they think.
    Women consistently reported that they are safe drivers, yet they fail to follow NSC's recommended maintenance procedures.

One thousand drivers ages 18 and older were surveyed, with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent. Some key questions asked included:

  • Do you consider yourself to be a safe driver?
  • Thinking about every time you get in your car and before you turn the key, when going on a short trip or running an errand in your neighborhood, do you always check: - To make sure your mirrors are properly adjusted?
    - To make sure all occupants are correctly belted?
    - To make sure your seat and head restraints are properly adjusted?
    - To make sure all doors are closed and locked?
    - To make sure loose objects are secure?
    - Around and underneath your car for potential obstacles?
    - To make sure the car is secure, such as checking to make sure your car has not been broken into or there is no one unusual or suspicious in or around the car?


The National Safety Council ( saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads through leadership, research, education and advocacy.
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