Esuvee Safety Campaign Develops New Web Game to Further Promote Safety Messages

NEW YORK, April 21 -- The Esuvee Safety Campaign, a $27 million yearlong national education program designed to reduce sport utility vehicle (SUV) rollovers, today announced the launch of The Esuvee Challenge Course, a new Web-based video game promoting SUV safety. The game, which is played via the campaign Web site (http://www.esuvee.com/), is an interactive challenge course focusing primarily on the handling differences between SUVs and regular cars.

In The Esuvee Challenge Course, players take control of "Esuvee," the campaign mascot that serves as a metaphor for a sports utility vehicle and represents the feeling of invincibility that some drivers experience on the road. By guiding Esuvee through various environments, the game promotes awareness -- in an engaging and entertaining way -- of how various conditions affect the vehicle, subjecting the driver to changes in terrain type, tire pressure and cargo.

"Once an hour, an American is killed in an SUV -- usually during an accident that involves a rollover," said Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. "The states have joined forces to educate SUV drivers about the steps they can take to prevent rollovers and save lives. SUV safety tips like avoiding abrupt maneuvers and not overloading are illustrated in The Esuvee Challenge Course. The simulation is fun to play but it also makes important points that can mean the difference between life or death when operating an SUV."

About The Game

After choosing a driver and an Esuvee, players enter the game environment, where they have the option to complete the tutorial, enter a Challenge Course, or simply drive around the course freely. For players to win, they must drive cautiously among the diverse terrain types and successfully pass all six checkpoints in the Challenge Course. Checkpoints incorporate the campaign's safety messages, including such destinations as a "paw pressure" and cargo loading station, where drivers must use keyboard controls to determine the ideal tire pressure and loading conditions for their Esuvee.

"Our primary target for the campaign -- males between the ages of 18 to 34 -- can be a difficult group to connect with," said Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist. "The Esuvee Challenge Course provides an entertaining and non-threatening learning experience that we believe will appeal to this audience."

Essential Safety Tips

The Esuvee Safety Campaign, which was launched on January 31, 2005, highlights the following critical tips for driving SUVs that can mean the difference between life and death:

  * Handling: SUVs have a higher center of gravity than passenger cars,
    which contributes to the higher risk of rollover. The chances of an SUV
    rollover are further increased by speeding, abrupt maneuvers,
    inattentiveness, tailgating, recklessness, aggressiveness or impaired
    driving.
  * Loading:  According to the new consumer survey, nearly 50 percent of
    Americans do not know that overloading an SUV increases the risk of
    rollovers. The number of occupants, as well as the weight and
    distribution of cargo, raises a SUV's center of gravity, increasing the
    risk of rollover.
  * Tires: Tire size, pressure and maintenance are keys to SUV safety.
    Drivers should monitor each of these, and take them into account when
    loading an SUV.
  * Seat belts:  Perhaps the most preventable cause of death in an SUV
    rollover is ejection from the vehicle.  Eighty percent of those killed
    in SUV rollovers are unbelted.

  CONTACT:  Andrew Foote/Marya Pongrace
            Peppercom,
            212-931-6169/6142
            afoote@peppercom.com, mpongrace@peppercom.com

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