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Ford Media Center
PEORIA, Ill., May 18, 2017 – The award-winning Ford Driving Skills for Life national tour returned to Tazewell County today to provide 110 newly licensed teen drivers with free hands-on training to help them stay safe behind the wheel.
The visit marks 10 years of ongoing engagement by Ford Driving Skills for Life and others in Illinois as part of the Operation Teen Safe Driving initiative established in 2007. The initiative was launched in Tazewell County after the community lost 15 teens to deadly vehicle crashes over 15 months starting in 2005. It was later expanded across Illinois. Since 2007, Illinois Department of Transportation data show the state has experienced a 50 percent reduction in teen fatalities.
“Ford Driving Skills for Life and the Allstate Foundation are pleased to provide funding for more than 100 schools yearly to support programming and hands-on driving clinics across Illinois,” said Jim Graham, global manager, Ford Driving Skills for Life. “A combination of education, enforcement, improved technology and legislation has proved to make a real difference in reducing traffic fatalities across the state.”
In addition to training 110 Tazewell County teens, the program was attended by representatives from Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois Department of Transportation and local parents.
“The community-wide effort in Tazewell County is nothing less than spectacular,” said Robert Huston, Tazewell County sheriff. “All seven schools endorsed the program, with people from a broad range of areas participating to make a difference. The positive results clearly show – teen deaths here have declined dramatically since 2005-2006. I would like to personally thank Ford Motor Company Fund for bringing Driving Skills for Life once again to our county, and for providing grants to support this ongoing program over the years.”
Ford Driving Skills for Life, along with the other parties, worked with all seven schools in the county, including providing more than $25,000 for activities to raise awareness among peers both in the schools and the broader community.
Operation Teen Safe Driving was expanded statewide in 2008, the same year Illinois strengthened graduated driving license laws. To date, students and faculty from more than 800 schools in 100-plus counties have participated in school and hands-on training events.
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