DUBAI, UAE – Ford Middle East, in partnership with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and the Road & Transport Authority, today announced the Middle Eastern debut of the Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) programme in the UAE.
The free programme is designed to impart safe driving practices to students to help improve their road safety record. Road users in the UAE are almost seven times more likely to be killed than those in Britain, making the nation’s roads among the deadliest in the world, according to the Global Status Report on Road Safety, by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2009.
The Ford Driving Skills for Life programme will visit three universities across the UAE over the next few weeks, and professional instructors will share and demonstrate special skills and give tips on safe driving practices using specially equipped Ford vehicles. The instructors will teach students the necessary skills for driving safely, brief them on the main hazards that they may face, and tell them how to handle some of the challenging situations on the road. The training goes further than the lessons students learn in standard driver education programme.
“The Ford Driving Skills for Life programme is designed to leave a lasting impression on young people and ultimately make them safer drivers,” said Larry Prein, managing director of Ford Middle East.
“Inexperience is the leading cause of crashes in young drivers, and this programme delivers the key skill sets that will help increase their knowledge and confidence. An improvement in driving habits of teenagers will in turn bring about improvements in the road safety record of the UAE, and more importantly, it will help to save lives,” he added.
Paul Anderson, Ford Middle East’s Marketing director said: “Having successfully launched this programme in the US and Asia, we are delighted that we’re now able to bring Driving Skills for Life to the Middle East, and debut it in the UAE with the support of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and the RTA. We would like to thank them for supporting this initiative, which we believe will make a positive impact in the minds of participants.”
The CEO of RTA’s Traffic and Roads Agency, Eng. Maitha Bin Adai said: “RTA commends the efforts of Ford Middle East in spearheading ‘Driving Skills For Life’. As its name suggests, the information to be acquired in this programme is going to be indispensable and necessary for driving and road conduct. We give our full support for this initiative.”
According to the World Health Organisation report ‘Global Status Report on Road Safety,’ more than 37 people were killed on roads in the UAE for every 100,000 members of the population, a record that is the worst in the GCC. More than 8,000 people die on the roads in the GCC and another 60,000 are injured, many of them critically. The WHO estimates that by 2020, road traffic injuries will be the third leading cause of disability adjusted years of life lost in the Middle East.
Ford Driving Skills for Life engages young drivers and addresses four key areas that are critical factors in vehicle accidents. These include distractions / hazard recognition, vehicle handling, space management and speed management. These four key areas pose the most problems for young drivers and play a role in more than half of the vehicle crashes involving young people worldwide.
Students participating the UAE programme, will get the chance to try these techniques while driving the new Focus, Mustang and Edge models.
“Ford encourages safe and responsible driving and with the launch of the Ford Driving Skills for Life, the company is underlining its commitment to road accident prevention in the UAE and the region,” added Anderson.
“Today, Ford vehicles offer customers smart technologies that truly revolutionise the driving experience and help drivers drive safely and even avoid accidents. And we remain focused and committed to bring high end technologies that will help make the world a better place,” he said.
Vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of fatalities and injuries to residents in the UAE. Statistics published by UAE’s Ministry of Interior showed that there were 450 fatalities and 5,543 injuries resulting from 4,566 traffic accidents on the country’s roads in the first three quarters of 2012. Worldwide, an estimated 1.2 million people are killed in road crashes each year and as many as 50 million are injured. Over 50 per cent of the deaths are among the age group 15-44 years. Among children and young people aged 5-29 years, road injuries are the second leading cause of death worldwide. UNESCO projections indicate that these figures will increase by 65 per cent over the next 20 years if there is no commitment to prevention (According to the UNESCO report on road traffic in the Arab States of the Gulf).
“We are very happy to endorse this great campaign that Ford is pioneering in the UAE,” said Dr. Mohammed Ben Sulayem, president of the Automobile & Touring Club of the UAE, Vice-President of the FIA, and Chairman of the Arab Council of Touring and Automobile Clubs (ACTAC). “Driving Skills for Life is the perfect platform since the ATCUAE is developing a range of services to focus on young drivers, from education and training platforms, to road safety initiatives and to the development of young professional drivers within the UAE.”
The Ford Driving Skills for Life is a national safety initiative created in 2003 by Ford Motor Company, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and a panel of safety experts. The programme is tailored in each of the markets it is launched to reflect the local driving environment and road conditions.