Driver Education

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, human factors cause or contribute to more than 90 percent of serious crashes. And, traffic accidents are the number-one cause of death of teens in the U.S. More than 3,000 teenagers (aged 15–19) die on American roads each year.

Ford Driving Skills for Life (FDSFL), Ford’s driver education program, demonstrates our commitment to educating teens about safer driving. FDSFL provides outstanding learning tools, including an award-winning curriculum with hands-on training and web-based learning, a teacher and parent educational kit, a teaching DVD designed for interactive learning, and printed materials to help young drivers improve their ability behind the wheel. Both the FDSFL website and “ride and drives” for teen drivers include modules on the importance of avoiding distracted driving. In addition, the program includes information about eco-driving, car care tips and information for mature drivers.

Ford Driving Skills for Life

Ford Driving Skills for Life

In early 2011, the Ford Motor Company Fund invested an additional $1 million to expand the FDSFL program in the U.S. from 9 to 15 states. Students at a total of 30 high schools will take part in the new expanded program.

The FDSFL program is also being implemented outside the U.S. In 2008, Ford launched FDSFL in our Asia Pacific and Africa region, and in 2010 continued with the successful rollout of the program in Australia and South Africa. (In addition, FDSFL is in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Taiwan and India.) Ford has now provided training for thousands of licensed drivers in these markets.

In South Africa in 2010, Ford brought special attention to the FDSFL program by involving seven performers from the South African Idols singing competition in a ride-and-drive event. The performers learned new skills designed to make them safer and more fuel-efficient drivers, and also got to compete in a tough “skidpan” challenge testing their braking and steering skills. The event was featured in a subsequent edition of the Idols show.

Beginning in 2007, Ford partnered with the Illinois Department of Transportation, secretary of state and state police to launch a statewide effort – modeled on Ford Driving Skills for Life – designed to reduce teen crashes and fatalities. Called Operation Teen Safe Driving, this campaign was the first of its kind and got high school students directly involved by challenging them to develop and implement a teen safe driving community awareness campaign using FDSFL resources. This seven-month statewide effort – which now takes place annually – involves 778 schools in 102 Illinois counties, and has the support of the governor, the secretary of state and the Chicago board of education. In 2010 alone, the state estimates that the program touched 3.2 million Illinois residents.

The results have been remarkable: Illinois has seen a 45 percent reduction in teen fatalities over the last four years.

In recent years, distracted driving has received increased national attention as a contributing factor in motor vehicle crashes. We at Ford have been working for years to research the issue and develop voluntary guidelines, in addition to providing teen driver education and appropriate technologies to help reduce the risk of crashes due to distracted driving. Over the past two years our sustainability report has included a case study on distracted driving; the case has been updated for this year’s report.