NEW DELHI, India – By the time you finish reading this story, more than 25 people will have died or been injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident, on average.
To help combat the global epidemic of road fatalities, Ford Motor Company is expanding its Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) program in India, which has the highest motor vehicle injury and fatality rate in the world. As part of its commitment to promote a better and safer driving community, Ford India is offering free training to promote safe, economic and eco-friendly driving across the sub-continent.
"Ford has a long-term commitment to India," said Nigel Wark, executive director of marketing sales and service for Ford India. "As we continue to produce and sell more cars in India, it is our obligation to do what we can to help improve road safety, fuel economy and cost of ownership. By following a few simple rules, drivers can make exponential improvements to safety and to the cost of driving. Anyone on the roads in India can attest to the fact that we all have room to improve."
Consider these staggering facts from the World Health Organisation:
- India topped China as having the most per capita fatalities as a result of motor vehicle accidents
- In India, road fatalities have increased by 40% in five years
- 13 people die every hour on Indian roads and the International Road Federation estimated a total of 1,19,860 road fatalities in 2009
- Globally, more than 1000 children and young adults under the age of 25 years are killed in road traffic crashes every day
- Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for 10-24 year olds
- Most young people killed or injured in road crashes in low- and middle-income countries are pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists or users of public transport
- In high-income countries most young victims are novice drivers
- Correctly used seat-belts reduce the risk of death in the event of a crash by up to 61%
Ford introduced DSFL in 2003 in the US, primarily as a training tool for teenagers. It has been adapted for various markets since then, and is especially relevant in markets that have many first time drivers, like India.
Ford India is expanding its engine plant in Chennai and just last week announced a Rs. 4000 crore investment in Sanand, Gujarat to build a new integrated manufacturing facility for vehicle and engine production. As the company expands sales and production, it has expanded its DSFL programme as well.
Ford India began DSFL in 2009 and has trained more than 2,000 participants so far, including the Delhi Traffic Police, Chennai Traffic Police, Rotary Clubs and MCRT, college students, fleet owners and dealers.
In 2011, training started with dealers, consumers and driving groups in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Chandigarh. Ford will have trained more than 1,500 additional people in 2011. Ford India is now reaching out to media groups to help spread the word.
Driving Skills for Life is offered free of charge to licensed drivers. The programme, which has been customised to reflect driving and road conditions in India, mixes classroom learning and practical training in a vehicle.
To find out more about a DSFL event, customers can visit any Ford dealership in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Chandigarh.
“As part of being good corporate citizens we strive to improve the communities where we do business," said Trevor Hale, corporate communication director, Ford, Asia Pacific and Africa. "As pioneers in automotive safety, reinforcing safe, economical and fuel efficient driving is a responsibility we take very seriously. The training is simple but incredibly powerful and can make a huge difference in many lives. By the end of this year, more than 50,000 drivers in Asia will have taken part in DSFL since the programme started, and we're looking forward to continuing to expand here in incredible India.”