HILLIARD, OH, May 2, 2013 – MINI Financial Services, a division of BMW Group Financial Services, is focused on taking the distraction out of teen driving. The Hilliard-based organization is offering a free interactive distracted driving clinic to licensed high school teenagers from Hilliard’s Davidson, Bradley and Darby high schools and their parents on May 4th and 5th at the company’s Regional Service Center. More than 100 local area participants will be educated on the dangers of driver distraction through presentations as well as driving a MINI vehicle on a “coned” course with a professional racecar instructor, while enacting with a series of distracted driving elements.

According to the National Safety Council, motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of death in the United States for 3-34 year-olds, and distraction now joins alcohol and speeding as leading factors in fatal and serious injury crashes. MINI Financial Services has taken on this important cause through its “Miles Ahead MINI Teen Motoring School” held year-round at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with individual programs additionally held at MINI dealerships.

Wayne Orchowski, Chief Operating Officer for BMW Group Financial Services Regional Service Center, was anxious to bring the program to the local community to showcase just how quickly and easily distractions can lead to trouble behind the wheel.

“While safety and fun aren’t typically found in the same sentence, MINI vehicles can demonstrate both sides of the spectrum through our carefully constructed program for teens and their parents,” said Orchowski. “By providing a unique driving experience to younger drivers, they can immediately feel the effects of the potential dangers and realize that the phone is not the only hazardous disruption while driving.”

The weekend program will offer an opportunity for local high school students and their parents, as well as BMW Group Financial Services’ associates and their own teenage children, to recognize the risks of distraction during driving and realize the benefits to staying alert and responsive.

Driving exercises, utilizing MINI Cooper vehicles, will highlight an impairment course applying various distraction levels including:

Navigating a driving course with instructional road signs while counting backward outloud from 100 – students must read, recognize and follow all instructional signs on the course simultaneously — research shows this cognizant effort is very similar to having a cell phone conversation

Driving while wearing “Fatal Vision goggles” which simulate an alcohol blood level of intoxication at 0.06 – while technically a legal limit in most states, this minimal amount showcases to students how even a small level of alcohol in one’s blood can cause distraction

Skid-pad demonstration performed by professional racecar instructor teaching students how to recover when a car spins out