DEARBORN - Ford Motor Company knows there is nothing more important than saving lives. Ford has invested heavily in developing innovative safety technology and today the company produces some of the safest vehicles in the world. Still, Ford continues to do more. Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) is out front in training young drivers in the skills and techniques needed to steer clear of trouble and stay safe behind the wheel. In 2011, Ford invested $1 million to expand the award-winning DSFL program to fight the number one killer of American teens – traffic accidents.
Ford DSFL last year organized 30 safe-driving events in 15 states from Maine to Florida and Arizona to the Carolinas. More than 35,000 teens drove the special course with professional drivers, participated in web-based learning exercises or took part in classroom instruction.
"Experience is the one key element that young drivers do not have, and that inexperience is the leading cause of crashes for teens," said Jim Graham, manager, Ford DSFL. "This specialized training helps speed up the learning process and bridge the experience gap by teaching young people essential skills in a controlled, hands-on environment."
Ford developed Driving Skills for Life in 2003 in partnership with the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Government statistics show more than 3,000 teens, ages 15-19, are killed on American roads each year. Ford DSFL helps build the skills of young drivers in several important areas - speed, space management, driver distraction, vehicle handling and hazard recognition. These situations contribute to more than 60 percent of teen crashes.
“While teen driving safety is a key priority, too often our communities lack the resources to conduct these types of hands-on, high-tech trainings," said GHSA Chairman Troy E. Costales. "We are grateful to Ford for providing professional caliber training to help secure a safe driving future for our teens all across the country.”
“Driving Skills for Life is an initiative that teaches young adults a life-saving method of driving and develops proficiency that becomes second nature for a lifetime of safe driving," said Marsha Barbour, first lady of Mississippi. "We thank Ford Motor Company for bringing this award-winning program to three locations in Mississippi and for the lives that will be saved as a result.”
In 2012, Ford DSFL will reach out to more young people with this unique opportunity to sharpen their skills. The focus will be the Pacific Northwest with the Ford DSFL tour rolling through Oregon, Washington and north to Alaska. These are lessons kids won't want to miss.
"OMG! I never thought I would have so much fun at school," said Aimee McMurry, high school student, Pinson, AL. "Ford Driving Skills for Life was amazing."
"Thank you Ford for coming out to West Forsyth High School and teaching me how to control a car under a high risk situation," said John Delf, high school student, Cumming, GA. "I now understand the effect that texting and drinking has on my control of the car. I am more aware about all of that now thanks to you."
The site includes driving tips, a learning module, quizzes, games and car care videos. Free educator packets also are available for students, parents, educators and community organizations.