Nationwide Insurance Joins Forces with NASCAR Star Kyle Petty to Raise Awareness of Distracted Driving

Mon May 18, 2009 2:00pm EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

COLUMBUS, Ohio--(Business Wire)--
Nationwide Insurance and NASCAR star Kyle Petty are joining forces to raise
awareness of DWD - driving while distracted. The national campaign, in
conjunction with Nationwide`s sponsorship of the NASCAR Nationwide Series, kicks
off this week with a satellite media tour from Lowe`s Motor Speedway and an
event at New Technology High School at Garinger in Charlotte, NC. 

Entering its second year, Nationwide`s DWD education campaign brings NASCAR
Nationwide Series drivers to local schools to drive home the message that
multitasking behind the wheel puts drivers and their fellow motorists at risk.
Students will receive a firsthand look at the impact that distractions have on
their driving abilities while racing in a NASCAR simulator. 

In his role as spokesperson for the Nationwide DWD campaign, Petty will serve as
host for many of the high school events planned throughout the 2009 NASCAR
Nationwide Series season. 

"I am really excited to be a part of this campaign. Young drivers today are
faced with more distractions than ever before, and diverting their attention
away from the road with cell phone calls and text messages creates a very
dangerous situation," said Kyle Petty. "It is important for our children to
learn about the risks associated with distracted driving. If we can raise
awareness on this particular subject I believe we can save lives." 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says distracted drivers
account for nearly four out of five crashes in the U.S. The problem is
especially bad for young drivers. In a 2008 survey, Nationwide found that nearly
40 percent of the teenagers and young adults surveyed admitted they send and
receive text messages while driving - the same percentage of those questioned
who said they have been hit or almost hit by another car whose driver was
talking on a cell phone. 

"Clearly, distracted driving has taken over our roadways and Nationwide wants to
educate all drivers that they need to focus on the road, not on their
technology, when behind the wheel," said Bill Windsor, Associate Vice President
of Safety for Nationwide Insurance. 

Nationwide`s 2007 "Life on the Go" campaign raised national awareness about DWD
and was cited by lawmakers as validation for legislation to drive change in
motorist behavior. Distracted-driving-related bills are pending in numerous
states. 

DWD events are planned during the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule in
Cincinnati, OH, Des Moines, IA, Richmond, VA, Memphis, TN, Dallas, TX and
Phoenix, AZ. 

Nationwide, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest
diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the U.S. and is
rated A+ by A.M. Best. The company provides a full range of personalized
insurance and financial services, including auto insurance, motorcycle, boat,
homeowners, life insurance, farm, commercial insurance, administrative services,
annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans and health
and productivity services. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com. 

The NASCAR Nationwide Series logo and word mark are used under license by the
NationalAssociation for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc., and Nationwide Mutual
Insurance Company. NASCAR  and the NASCAR logo are registered trademarks of the
National Association for Stock Auto Racing, Inc. Nationwide, On Your Side, and
the Nationwide Framemark are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance
Company.

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Nationwide
Lisa Cox, 336-682-8488
coxl15@nationwide.com
or
Liz Christopher, 614-249-7705
christe1@nationwide.com

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