DEARBORN – Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL) continues its ongoing efforts to reduce teen traffic fatalities during National Teen Driver Safety Week with the introduction of an online video game patterned after its award-winning driving exercises – a key element of the Ford DSFL program and partnership with the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).
The online learning game was developed by the Michigan State University (MSU) Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab. Using the latest gaming technology, the game simulates the hands-on driving exercises taught in traditional Ford DSFL hands-on driving clinics. The new game can be accessed on the Ford DSFL website at www.drivingskillsforlife.com.
“Research has found driving simulation can effectively introduce new drivers to potentially life-saving skills,” says Jim Graham, manager, Ford Driving Skills for Life. “Tens of thousands of new drivers have attended our driving clinics, but this new game will provide millions of new drivers the opportunity to test and develop their skills online and on their schedule.”
"Many drivers in training have been playing video games for years. Through the game, we are able to leverage the engagement and fun of gaming technology and use it to create an educational experience that is appealing to these new drivers," states Brian Winn, Director of the Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab at Michigan State University. "Given the safety of the game environment, we are able to put players in situations that simulate hands-on training, thereby avoiding making potentially deadly mistakes in the real-world."
Ford DSFL, in partnership with AAA Michigan, Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning and Henry Ford Hospital-West Bloomfield, also is launching “Strive for a Safer Drive” – a Michigan statewide effort that includes peer-to-peer safe driving campaigns, use of simulators in schools and professional hands-on driving clinics. The program will reach more than 30 high schools during the six-month period and is patterned after a similar DSFL partnership that helped reduce teen traffic fatalities by 45 percent in Illinois.
Other efforts this week include a special video with teen stars sharing safe driving tips on the Ford DSFL website, prizes through Ford DSFL Facebook and Twitter, sponsorship of the Conor Lynch Foundation Teen Safety Fair in California and the Student Leadership Services Conference in Michigan, and a distracted driver fair in Nashville, Tenn.
More than 3,000 teens ages 15-19 are killed each year on American roads, making traffic fatalities the leading cause of death of American teens, according to government statistics. As the most comprehensive driving skills program in the U.S., Ford DSFL is designed to make a difference with these preventable tragedies. Now in its ninth year, Ford DSFL is a partnership between Ford Motor Company Fund and the Governors Highway Safety Association. The program includes free professional driver instruction, a Web-based curriculum, free educational materials, state grants and statewide education partnerships.