With more than 6,000 deaths nationally due to distracted driving, the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association (CPCA), The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., (NYSE: HIG) and WFSB Channel 3 have joined forces to launch I-PROMISE, an educational campaign to warn Connecticut drivers of all ages of the dangers of driving while distracted and change the way they think and act in the car.

“Every time someone takes their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel, they put their lives and the lives of others at risk,” said Chief Matthew Reimondo, East Hampton, Conn. Police Department. “Distracted driving occurs across all age groups. We’re pleased to partner with WFSB Channel 3 and The Hartford in an effort to raise awareness and make driving in Connecticut safer.”

The year-long I-PROMISE campaign aims to save lives and reduce injuries by educating millions of drivers:
  • Channel 3 will create and air public service announcements (PSA) in highly visible, targeted programming in addition to running segments on Better Connecticut, the network’s acclaimed morning show.
  • Police chiefs from across the state will take I-PROMISE into their local communities to educate millions of Connecticut teens and adults about safe driving behavior, including presentations at civic organizations and on college campuses. These presentations will include a distracted driving curriculum for school resource officers and a toolkit with the I-PROMISE Pledge, informational handouts and promotional items.
  • The I-PROMISE car – a SYNC-enabled Ford Fusion donated by Ford Motor Company (via Crowley Ford in Plainville, Conn.) – will be used to demonstrate safe driving habits for drivers of all ages across Connecticut.
  • WFSB.COM will feature an online resource center with distracted driving content, facts and figures, a downloadable I-PROMISE Pledge, the PSAs and more.

“The injuries and deaths associated with distracted driving are not just numbers, they are people,” said Juan Andrade, president and chief operating officer, property and casualty operations, The Hartford. “The Hartford and our employees support the I-PROMISE Pledge because we see the tragic results of distracted driving every day. As an insurer of peoples’ lives, homes, cars and businesses, we see the extraordinary pain of a lost parent or child, the damage of life-long injuries, or the disruption of the lost ability to work. These are very real physical, emotional and financial consequences that may last forever.”

"The I-PROMISE program is a tremendous public service that Ford Motor Company is proud to support because safety is a priority at Ford,” said Enza Slevam, Boston Region Parts, Service and Sales Manager, Ford Motor Company. “When WFSB approached us about donating a car, we really didn't have to be sold. The program sold itself."

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the proportion of drivers reportedly distracted at the time of fatal crashes has increased from 8 percent in 2004 to 11 percent in 2008. Recognizing the increasing prevalence of drivers using electronic devices, the CPCA, The Hartford and Channel 3 urge Connecticut drivers to take the I-PROMISE Pledge:
  • I-PROMISE not to drive distracted.
  • I-PROMISE not to text while driving.
  • I-PROMISE to keep my hands on the wheel.
  • I-PROMISE to keep my eyes on the road.

“Distracted driving has become an epidemic on American roads and we want Connecticut drivers to be safe,” said Klarn DePalma, vice president and general manager, WFSB Channel 3. “The goal of the I-PROMISE campaign is to lead the effort in educating motorists about the dangers of driving distracted and make a difference on Connecticut’s roadways.

To learn more about distracted driving and I-PROMISE or to download the I-PROMISE Pledge, please visit http://www.ipromisepledge.com.

About the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association

The Connecticut Police Chiefs Association (CPCA) represents every municipal police department in Connecticut as well as other state and private agencies with over 8,000 police officers statewide. The CPCA is an organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of the residents of the State of Connecticut; to aiding other government bodies within and external to the State of Connecticut in the administration of justice, ensuring that all are treated equally before the law. To strive always to provide service to the public of the highest attainable quality by constantly searching for those methods that will keep Connecticut law enforcement in the forefront of public safety issues. More information is available at www.cpcanet.org.

About The Hartford

Celebrating nearly 200 years, The Hartford (NYSE: HIG) is an insurance-based financial services company that serves households, businesses and employees by helping to protect their assets and income from risks, and by managing wealth and retirement needs. A Fortune 500 company, The Hartford is recognized widely for its service expertise and as one of the world’s most ethical companies. More information on the company and its financial performance is available at www.thehartford.com.

About WFSB Channel 3

WFSB TV is Connecticut’s most watched television station and is owned and operated by Meredith Broadcasting. Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP; www.meredith.com) is one of the nation's leading media and marketing companies with businesses centering on magazine and book publishing, television broadcasting, integrated marketing and interactive media. Meredith owns or operates 12 television stations that reach nearly 10 percent of television households across the country and one radio station: WGCL-TV (CBS), Atlanta; KPHO-TV (CBS), Phoenix; KPDX-TV (MyNetwork), Portland, OR; KPTV (FOX), Portland, OR; WFSB-TV (CBS), Hartford-New Haven, CT; WSMV-TV (NBC) Nashville, TN; KCTV (CBS), Kansas City, MO; KSMO (MyNetwork), Kansas City, MO; WHNS-TV (FOX), Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, SC-Asheville, NC; WNEM-TV (CBS), Flint-Saginaw, MI; KVVU-TV (FOX), Las Vegas, NV; TN; WSHM, (CBS), Springfield, MA; and radio station WNEM-AM in Saginaw-Bay City, MI.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 200,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.

Some of the statements in this release may be considered forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We caution investors that these forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results may differ materially. Investors should consider the important risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ. These important risks and uncertainties include those discussed in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, our 2009 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the other filings we make with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We assume no obligation to update this release, which speaks as of the date issued.

Copyright Business Wire 2010