DEARBORN - Most teens want to be in the driver’s seat as soon as possible. It's a much anticipated right of passage for them, but an anxious time for many parents.
To help make the transition safer, Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL), AAA Michigan and the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) have joined together to launch Strive For A Safer Drive (S4SD).
More than 300 high schools in 11 pilot counties are being invited to take part in this new safe driving initiative aimed at making students better and safer drivers. S4SD provides funding and resources to help teens talk to teens about safe driving in hopes of reducing serious traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities among Michigan's most inexperienced drivers. Interested schools must apply for this unique opportunity by Oct. 21. Click here for requirements and applications.
The program will accommodate up to 50 high schools for the pilot 2011-2012 school year. Participating schools will receive a $2,000 grant from AAA Michigan to help fund activities. A team of students from each school will be asked to create their own peer-to-peer campaign focusing on seat belt use, speeding, underage drinking/impaired driving and/or distracted driving. The schools determined to have the top campaigns will be eligible to send students to a free Ford DSFL hands-on driving clinic with professional instructors.
During a launch event at Edsel Ford High School in Dearborn, students had a chance to try out a driving simulator and impaired-driving goggles.
The award-winning Ford DSFL driving clinics build young drivers’ skills in the four key areas that contribute to more than 60 percent of teen crashes; driver distraction, speed space management, vehicle handling and hazard recognition. In 2007, Ford DSFL began a similar project with traffic safety officials and private organizations in Illinois. Since 2006, Illinois has seen a 50 percent reduction in teen traffic fatalities. OHSP, Michigan's highway safety office, is handling program coordination and is the direct point of contact for interested and participating high schools.