A teenager’s first year of driving can be the most dangerous year of their life. And teens get most of their driving habits, good or bad, from their parents. That’s why Toyota created TeenDrive365 – a collection of resources to help parents and teens prepare for their first year behind the wheel, and a lifetime of safe driving. Using these resources, TED helped Toyota reach its audience of engaged parents and teens with compelling, idea-driven messaging about the perils of distracted driving.

Toyota partnered with TED to reach a highly engaged audience of parents and super-spreader teens with thoughtful, idea-driven messaging on the psychology behind our ability to focus – and how we succumb to distractions. Using the overall theme of human attention, we put together a three-part program that combined an on-site activation at TEDYouth, a TED-Ed style lesson on distracted driving, and a takeover of the TEDYouth media channel to tell the story of Toyota’s work to prevent distracted driving.

On stage

TEDYouth amplified the TeenDrive365 message in ways we couldn’t have anticipated. Throughout the day of the event, six Toyota “iReporters” combed the crowd of young people, investigating the patterns of everyday distractions among attendees and speakers and the best ways to communicate the issue of distracted driving to teens. After interviewing TEDYouth attendees and speakers, the iReporters presented their findings on the main stage. One iReporter’s thought-provoking on-stage insight: Teach empathy before you teach driving.


The TeenDrive365 distracted driving simulator created opportunities for teens to get behind the wheel – some for their very first time! Dozens of students lined up to test their ability to drive distracted – whether by reaching for a water bottle in the backseat or texting behind the wheel – and were often surprised at how their perceived ability to multitask compared to their actual driving performance.

Toyota iReporters on stage
Toyota's iReporters take the stage at TEDYouth


Finally, coinciding with the TEDYouth conference, Toyota sponsored a takeover of’s TEDYouth topic channel, which features TED Talks and TED-Ed Lessons for young people, the TED editorial team’s coverage of TEDxYouth events around the world, and profiles of young people making a difference in their communities. In collaboration with TED-Ed, we produced an animated video lesson for Toyota, which, in addition to running within their media unit on the TEDYouth channel, can be shared with their stakeholders around the world.

The TED and Toyota partnership highlighted their commitment to doing more than just building safe cars. It’s about spreading ideas, and, hopefully, changing the world for the better.

Toyota's TeenDrive365 distracted driving simulator
TEDYouth attendee tries Toyota's TeenDrive365 distracted driving simulator

The activity really sparked a TED-centered way of conversation, which is a perfect opportunity for us to hear what kids have to say.
Zoe Zeigler, Integrated Marketing Leader, Toyota

How to connect: Email Lisa Choi Owens - Head of Global Partnerships, at