Cooper Tire is teaming up with 19-year-old Tristan Nunez, a MAZDA Factory professional race car driver and distracted driving awareness advocate, to call attention to the dangers of distracted driving. Cooper made the announcement official today in conjunction with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The partnership will include speaking appearances, web and social media efforts, and Cooper and Nunez will collaborate throughout 2015 on additional efforts to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving as part of the ongoing alliance.

While Cooper and Nunez are focused on raising awareness of the dangers of distracted driving for all age groups, the initial focus of the partnership is on younger drivers as statistics show that teens are distracted nearly a quarter of the time they are behind the wheel. Quickly rising in the world of professional racing as a full-time driver in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Series, Nunez has been working tirelessly to help educate and empower drivers to make better decisions behind the wheel. In fact, he formally launched the Dnt txt n drV Foundation in 2014, and has already been a keynote speaker at the U.S. Department of Transportation's Teen Distracted Driving Prevention Summit. Earlier this month, he addressed the Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities, which is the largest gathering of highway safety professionals in the U.S. With appearances at schools dotted throughout his race schedule, Nunez actively encourages high school students to sign a pledge against texting and driving.

"I've had a long-standing relationship with Cooper as a racing sponsor, and won a championship on Cooper tires in 2012," Nunez said. "So, it means a lot for me to expand my relationship with Cooper off the track to focus on driver safety. It may come as a shock, but I often feel safer driving on the race track than I do in normal traffic due to the rise of distracted driving. I'm glad Cooper is as passionate about this cause as I am. The company has been a long-time advocate of proper tire maintenance and tire safety, and together with my focus on the dangers of distracted driving, we make a great team to help everyday drivers—especially young ones—be safer."

"At Cooper, we craft quality, reliable tires with innovative features that meet the needs of all kinds of drivers," said Mike Simon, Cooper's Vice President of Marketing. "Yet, when consumer behavior—like teens driving while distracted—interferes with their wellbeing on the road, it's time to put a strong voice like Tristan's behind the cause and align with it. Research shows that the average consumer is never more than three feet away from their phone. With this type of temptation so near, it's vital that we share tips on how to mitigate or remove the dangers," Simon added.

Some of the tips for drivers include stowing cell phones in the trunk of the car before driving, downloading an app that disables cells phones while in motion, or even asking a passenger to respond to texts or calls while driving.

In addition, Cooper has extensive tire safety and maintenance information on a dedicated safety section on coopertire.com and the company is developing innovations to help drivers keep an eye on the condition of their tires. For example, Cooper's premium passenger CS5 Touring and the SUV/CUV dedicated Discoverer SRX tires feature the company's consumer-friendly feature—the Wear Square incorporated into the tread design at six reference points around the tire. The Wear Square changes shape as tread wears, allowing drivers to visually assess the approximate remaining tread life and identify possible uneven wear or wheel alignment issues.

For more information on Cooper and Tristan Nunez, visit www.coopertire.com and www.dnttxtndrvfoundation.org. Also connect with Cooper and Nunez on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Cooper Tire & Rubber Company

Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, together with its subsidiaries, is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative, great-performing tires that people depend on for all of life's road trips, whether on city streets, off-road adventures or high-speed tracks. In fact, Cooper Tire is proud to sponsor and race in all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy development program within the IndyCar racing series. Cooper tires can also been seen on the track as a sponsor of the IMSA Prototype Lites Series, and competing in the short course off-road TORC Series. Headquartered in Findlay, Ohio, Cooper, together with its subsidiaries, has manufacturing, sales, distribution, technical and design facilities in 11 countries around the world. This year, as we head into our second century in the tire industry, Cooper is looking toward a future where innovation will continue to drive our products and our products will continue to drive the world. To connect with Cooper Tire, visit www.coopertire.com, www.facebook.com/coopertire or www.twitter.com/teamcoopertire.

About Tristan Nunez

Tristan Nunez is a 19-year-old professional autoracing driver who competes in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Series as a MAZDA factory driver for SpeedSource. Nunez became the youngest class winner in GRAND-AM and American Le Mans Series history in 2013 and became the youngest SportsCar champion in 2012 when he captured the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites powered by Mazda Series championship. Born to a now-retired professional tennis player, Nunez ventured from the family business and began his racing career at the age of 11, despite his twin brother continuing to pursue tennis. Tristan advanced his career with multiple karting championships and then transitioned into the Skip Barber formula cars, where he was named 2010 Rookie of the Year in the Skip Barber Southern Series and won the Skip Barber Summer Series overall points championship. The teen also won the 2012 Team USA Scholarship, going on to win the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone, and was named by Sports Illustrated as a "Face in the Crowd". The young Floridian stays active on and off the racetrack as the face of his Dnt txt n drV Foundation, where he serves as an advocate to spread the word on the dangers of distracted driving. For more information, please visit http://www.tristannunez.com, http://www.DnttxtndrVFoundation.org, http://www.twitter.com/tristannunez, or http://www.facebook.com/TristanNunezRacing.

Copyright Business Wire 2010