DEARBORN – Ford kicks off another year of helping new drivers around the world improve their motoring skills through the Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) program.
This week, Ford Motor Company Fund and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) begin the ninth year of DSFL for new young drivers in the United States with a high school tour across Northwest America.
Ford DSFL will visit 30 high schools in five states with a transporter featuring specially equipped vehicles and professional instructors. The program delivers a full day of multifaceted activities that build young drivers’ skills in four key areas: driver distraction, speed/space management, vehicle handling and hazard recognition. DSFL reached 35,000 teen drivers on the high school tour last year and the same number is expected to participate this year.
“By immersing ourselves in high schools for a day, the Ford Driving Skills for Life program seeks to leave a lasting impression on teens and ultimately make them safer drivers,” said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. “Inexperience is the leading cause of crashes in young drivers, and this program delivers the key skill sets that increase their knowledge and confidence.”
More than 3,000 teens ages 15-19 are killed on American roads each year, making traffic fatalities the No. 1 killer of American teens, according to government statistics. DSFL is designed to make a difference with the most comprehensive driving skills program in the U.S. It provides free professional driver instruction, a Web-based curriculum, state grants and materials.
Reducing the number of traffic fatalities and injuries remains the key mission for DSFL in Ford’s global markets, where the program utilizes training to enhance the learning process and bridge the experience gap for new drivers.
Ford DSFL now is in its fifth year training newly licensed drivers in Asia, with programs in China, India, Taiwan, South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. DSFL programs are tailored in each of these markets to reflect the local driving environment and road conditions.
Examples include localized training in Southeast Asia, with tips for driving in flooded and slippery areas, and in China, where snowfall in the northern parts of the country can present slick and sometimes hazardous road conditions.
DSFL provides training in both safe and more economical driving skills. Many DSFL participants in Asia are first-time drivers, as the region’s emerging economies are driving a rapid rise in vehicle ownership. So far, 50,000 have participated in the program across Asia with another 12,000 expected in 2012.
Ford DSFL continues to provide interactive Web-based training called “The Academy” on www.drivingskillsforlife.com
, and free materials upon request for students, educators, parents and community organizations.