CHICAGO, Ill. (Jan. 15, 2009) - Every year Shriners Hospitals for Children, a system comprised of 22 pediatric hospitals in North America, provides specialty care for thousands of kids with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, cleft lip and palate at no charge to patients or families. Additionally, Shriners Hospitals for Children is dedicated to conducting innovative research to benefit patients and the community.
At the Chicago hospital, Director of Research Administration Sahar Hassani, MS, started the Automotive Safety Project in summer 2008. The initiative has several components that add to the overall goal “to reduce serious and fatal motor vehicle injuries in infants, children, adolescents and young adults by providing helpful services.” Among these services are: car seat safety checks, resources for adapted teen driving, and education for new drivers.
Outside experts have willingly agreed to support the cause, and one such man is five-time professional sports car racing champion Andy Pilgrim. His impressive résumé includes racing with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Sr. in the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2001, race stints with Sportscar and NASCAR, 5 Professional Championships and 57 professional wins, to name a few. Perhaps most notable, is his desire to promote auto safety to new drivers, and in this way he was a perfect candidate to be part of the Automotive Safety Project.
An expert in the field, Pilgrim has been speaking to high school students about safe driving for more than fifteen years. In 2005 he was inspired to make a video promoting safety techniques for new/teen drivers and asked his friend Dale Earnhardt Jr. to help create the educational DVD. “The Driving Zone” DVD is available on Pilgrim’s website www.andypilgrim.com. It has been shown in classrooms across the country and has received critical acclaim.
Pilgrim and Shriners Hospitals need help from SCCA race fans to educate new teen drivers. Funded through the Automotive Safety Project, 200 copies of Pilgrim’s Driving Zone DVD are available at no charge. The first 200 emails received at firstname.lastname@example.org will be mailed a free copy of the DVD (please include shipping address in email). Parents and friends of new drivers, and students currently in driver’s education are encouraged to request a DVD. Parents and teens can download the useful guide to explaining the DVD at: www.andypilgrim.com/homework/HOME.htm.
Additional investigators for the Automotive Safety Project include Chicago hospital staff members Peter Sturm, MD; Joe Krzak, PT; Lawrence Vogel, MD; Gerald Harris, Ph.D., and Peter Smith, MD. This great project can help prevent injuries and save lives. For more information on Shriners Hospitals, visit www.shrinershospitals.org.