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Hip-Hop News: R&B Hip Hop Artist Ne-Yo Performs For Mercy High School
Seat belt manufacture Takata has provided the concert winning contest as part of its buckle-up awareness campaign.
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Posted by Dave
Rap News Network
5/8/2006 9:22:21 AM

Tags and topics realted to this article include Ne-Yo. Hip Hop, Events, Education and R&B.

Mercy High School (Farmington Hills) today won a free concert at its school by chart-topping R&B artist Ne-Yo in Takata's "Seat Belt Pledge" contest. Takata, the world's largest manufacturer of seat belts, staged the contest as part of its buckle-up awareness campaign to encourage Metro Detroit youths to wear their seat belts. The concert, to be held on Wednesday, May 10, was awarded to Mercy for collecting the highest percentage of signatures (99.6 percent) by the student body on a pledge to always wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a vehicle.

"Teenagers are just not hearing the traditional buckle-up message anymore," said Bob Kittle, vice president of sales and marketing for Takata. "That's why we felt we needed to create a campaign that gets their attention by relating to them on their level."

Over the past six weeks, Takata has aired a series of emotionally powerful ads featuring a local teen spokesperson, Vitana Passalacqua, a high school junior from Grosse Pointe, who intimately tells the real-life story of her tragic vehicle accident in which her best friend died after neither girl was wearing her seat belt. The commercials target young adults, ages 16 to 24, who have been identified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as having the lowest seat belt usage rate (78 percent) of any age group. Statistics show that seat belts reduce the risk of serious injury or death in a crash by 45 percent in a car and 60 percent in trucks and SUVs.

Passalacqua's story has aired on WKQI radio, 95.5 FM since March to help raise awareness of the importance of buckling up among Metro Detroit teenagers. The "Seat Belt Pledge" contest elevated the ads' message by encouraging Metro Detroit high school students to get involved and visit the station's Web site to download and sign a pledge to always buckle up.

"Takata's philosophy is built entirely on how we can save lives," Kittle said. "We don't want to just make seat belts -- we want to make the case for using them."

In December 2004, Passalacqua and her best friend were traveling home from an up-north trip on I-75 in Troy when her SUV hit an icy patch and caused her to lose control of the vehicle. It launched about 35 feet in the air, flipped over and landed on its roof. Passalacqua was fortunate only to suffer minor injuries, but her friend was killed. Since that time, she has become a strong advocate for seat belt usage and often speaks to student groups about the importance of always wearing a seat belt.

Takata is the world's largest provider of safety belts and a leading global automotive safety systems supplier. Takata offers a full line of seat belts, frontal and side impact air bags, steering wheels, safety electronics including rollover protection and crash avoidance systems, and a broad range of interior trim components. Takata's U.S. automotive safety headquarters are in Auburn Hills, Mich. For additional information, please visit http://www.takata.com/ .

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