The Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) National Tour is rolling through the South, capturing the attention of students and parents with its message of driver safety and critical skills training.
Ford DSFL is a free, hands-on driver training program that helps teens develop essential skills in several key areas - speed & space management, vehicle handling, hazard recognition and driver distraction. These situations present the most problems for new drivers and contribute to more than 60 percent of teen crashes – the number-1 cause of death for American teenagers.
“Inexperience is the leading cause of crashes in young drivers, and this program delivers the key skill sets that will increase their knowledge, confidence and, ultimately, their safety,” said Sue Cischke, group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. “Ford is passionate about helping young drivers learn the rules of the road, better manage distractions behind the wheel and help make America’s roads safer for all of us.”
The Ford DSFL team sets up a unique driver training course in each community it visits. Professional drivers ride with students and teach them important skills and maneuvers to help keep them safe behind the wheel. It's an eye-opening experience filled with valuable lessons for young drivers. In addition to the driving clinics, students also hear from law enforcement and safety officials, and have access to additional web-based training.
Marsha Barbour, the first lady of Mississippi, believes strongly in Ford Driving Skills for Life and was very engaged during the tour of her state. She joined the DSFL team for stops at three high schools and even got behind the wheel to test her abilities on the special course.
Reaction from students and educators has been equally positive.
"I cannot tell you how great today was for our school! This has been one of the best things we have ever done," said Hal Murphy, assistant principal, Southside High School, Southside, Alabama. "It is obvious that this program has been carefully planned, and everyone involved takes great pride in providing a positive, relevant, educational experience for teenagers."
Ford developed Driving Skills for Life in 2003 in partnership with the Governor's Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Ford Motor Company Fund has invested an additional $1 million in DSFL to expand the program's reach to high schools in 15 states. The government reports more than 3,000 young Americans aged 15-19 die each year on the nation's roads and highways. The goal of DSFL is to save lives by reducing the number of traffic accidents involving young drivers.
“This new commitment will bring Ford DSFL into many more communities. State highway safety offices will be able to use this program to complement ongoing laws and programs,” said Vernon F. Betkey Jr ., chairman, GHSA. “While teen driving safety is a key priority, too often our communities lack the resources to conduct these types of hands-on, high-tech trainings. We are grateful to Ford for helping fill these critical gaps.” Ford DSFL has been to Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and the Carolinas so far this year. Next stops include Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois and Kentucky.
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