DEARBORN, Mich., Jan. 31, 2012 – 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.
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About Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services
Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community partners to advance driving safety, education and community life. For more than 60 years, Ford Motor Company Fund has operated with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. The award-winning Ford Driving Skills for Life program teaches new drivers through a variety of hands-on and interactive methods. Innovation in education is encouraged through national programs that enhance high school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants. Through the Ford Volunteer Corps, more than 25,000 Ford employees and dealers work on projects each year that better their communities in more than 40 countries. For more information, visit www.community.ford.com.
About the Governors Highway Safety Association
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy and enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org.