According to a recent Autobytel Inc. survey, a majority (66.7 percent) of respondents generally drive at least 5-10 mph over the speed limit, despite the fact that more than 80 percent expressed concern that speeding or careless drivers pose a major threat to children in their neighborhoods.In an effort to improve Americans' unsafe neighborhood driving habits, online car buying and information site Carsmart.com says it is taking a North Carolina woman's grass roots 'Take The Pledge' campaign national. By 'Taking the Pledge,' Carsmart.com visitors will be making a commitment to slow down and drive safely on neighborhood streets. According to the company, home base for the fight for safer communities and saved lives is www.carsmart.com
, where concerned citizens can take The Pledge (to 'drive like you would in your neighborhood') online, or download it so that they can present it to family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers to sign. Visitors to the site can also access a range of safe driving tips, information and links, and request a 'Take The Pledge' window sticker. As part of its effort, Carsmart.com claims it has launched its 2002 New Vehicle Safety Guide on the website, which provides tips on buying a safer car, vehicle and tire safety and recall information, and additional safe driving pointers. According to carsmart.com, the Pledge is the brainchild of North Carolina grandmother Sherry Williams, who first penned the safe driving credo last December in response to the growing numbers of aggressive, unsafe drivers in her otherwise quiet Charlotte neighborhood. She posted homemade signs in her front yard urging passersby to 'Take The Pledge: Drive the Limit.' She also called five friends and urged each of them to take The Pledge (and asked each to call five friends and do the same, etc.). Her campaign sparked a groundswell of local support and ultimately effected a dramatic decrease in speeding and unsafe driving incidents in her community. Her story soon reached Carsmart.com, one of Autobytel Inc.'s online car-buying services. Impressed by its message and call to action, the company volunteered to become The Pledge's official sponsor. "Our sites reach millions of car shoppers every month, and CarSmart.com, with its family-friendly orientation, provides an ideal platform to introduce The Pledge to active community members nationwide," said Jeffrey Schwartz, president and CEO of Autobytel Inc. "Sherry Williams has proven that one person really can make a difference. Now our goal is to, in effect, inspire 'Sherry Williamses' in neighborhoods from coast to coast."In addition to revealing a disconnect between people's concern for unsafe neighborhood driving and their actual driving habits, the Autobytel Inc. says the survey also affirms The Pledge's underlying premise that personal initiative as opposed to increased government spending or legislation is the most effective remedy. 76 percent of respondents indicated a belief that "change must come from 'within' and we must work to raise awareness of the dangers of speeding so that people will choose to drive more safely." In another finding, 74 percent of those surveyed indicated that they personally know somebody who has been involved, injured or killed in a speeding-related accident. "Too many of us feel somehow absolved from accountability--and common courtesy--once we're behind the cloak of a car windshield," said Sherry Williams. "The goal of The Pledge is simply to make people more conscious of their driving, and how it impacts the safety of neighborhood kids and families. The good news is that The Pledge has already helped to make my neighborhood safer. The even better news is that my neighborhood is just the beginning."On April 30th, Carsmart.com hosted a kick off event for its national Take The Pledge campaign at Alexander Graham Middle School, a couple of blocks away from Sherry's home. The event was attended by Charlotte Mayor Patrick McCrory, District Attorney Peter Gilcrest and Police Chief Darrell Stephens, according to carsmart.com. The survey was conducted on Autobytel Inc. car-buying websites Autobytel.com, Carsmart.com and Autoweb.com from April 11-April 25, 2002. About Autobytel Inc.
Autobytel Inc., an Internet automotive marketing services company, helps retailers sell cars and manufacturers build brands through marketing and CRM (customer relationship management) programs. Autobytel Inc. owns and operates the websites Autobytel.com, Autoweb.com, Carsmart.com and Autosite.com, as well as AIC (Automotive Information Center), a provider of automotive marketing data and technology. With approximately 8,900 dealer relationships and 30 international automotive manufacturer customers, Autobytel Inc. claims to be a syndicated car-buying content network, reaching visitors as they are making their vehicle buying decisions.