Steps to H&V Collision Center's Distracted Driving Campaign

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About 30 years ago, Rich Tanchyk’s youngest brother was killed in a car accident. Distracted driving in the U.S. has been at the back of Tanchyk’s mind ever since, he says.

“No one was ever the same after that,” he says. “It changed their families lives in a terrible, terrible way.”

The process to start a distracted driving campaign took Rich Tanchyk, assistant vice president of  the New York based MSO H&V Collision Center, about one month, he says. The result has not only helped the shop’s reputation but increased awareness of the effects of texting while driving and driving while drunk.

Tanchyk shares some steps a shop owner can take to start a distracted driving campaign.

Finding the Car

First, the shop needs to find a car for a “dramatic display” perspective, Tanchyk says. He turned to one of his insurance carriers who assisted him in finding a totaled vehicle.

Two people had been driving while distracted in the vehicle and were killed, Tanchyk says. In order for Tanchyk to use the vehicle for the display, he agreed to not mention the insurance company and not mention any of the details of the accident during the campaign.

Partnering for the Campaign

Tanchyk says the next stop is to call schools. Make phone calls to principals and the school administration in order to find participating locations.

To go forward with the campaign despite the national distracted driving awareness month being over, Tanchyk has partnered with Saratoga Automobile Museum, and Saratoga Spa State Park to keep the car displayed outside the museum.

Delivering the Message

In addition to having the car displayed, Tanchyk participated in school health and safety events, where the shop and the National Auto Body Council (NABC) offered students interactive ways to view distracted driving. The shop downloaded the It Can Wait app, which was compatible with virtual reality, Google glasses provided by NABC .The simulation was about two minutes long and featured a distracted driver texting at the wheel of a car and narrowly avoiding near-accidents, Tanchyk says.

Throughout the prom season, the shop would drop the car off in the school’s student parking lot on a Monday and pick it up on a Friday. This way, the car was able to be displayed at all four participating high schools.

Then, he gave away brightly colored rubber bracelets for the students. The bracelets said messages like “Don’t text and drive.” and “Don’t drink and drive.” In total,Tanchyk says he only spent about $300 on the bracelets and the campaign.


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