Summertime is the right time for teenagers to pick up some extra schooling in safe driving.
“This is a time of year when many teens are driving more miles, perhaps to work or summer activities,” said Jim Graham, manager, Ford Driving Skills for Life. “Teens also frequently drive with other teens in the vehicle, adding to the risk for these less experienced drivers.”
Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) offered 1,200 Ohio teen drivers free half-day driving clinics with some of the nation’s top professional driving instructors designed to address the warm weather increase in risks that teen drivers face on the road. Ford DSFL addressed the dangers by providing advanced safe-driving training on a specially equipped course that let teens experience the worst the road has to offer within a controlled and safe environment. The free half-day of driving exercises builds skills in four key areas: driver distraction, speed/space management, vehicle handling and hazard recognition.
Developed with the Governors Highway Safety Association, Ford Driving Skills for Life is recognized as the nation’s most comprehensive driving skills program, with free professional driver instruction, state grants, free materials for parents and educators, and a Web-based curriculum that includes “The Academy” on www.drivingskillsforlife.com.
“We are proud to partner with Ford, GHSA and Westfield Insurance on these incredibly important events this summer for a number of reasons,” said Karhlton Moore, executive director, Office of Criminal Justice Services. "When a young life is needlessly ended or crippled, it affects people more than you can imagine.”
Teen drivers, mile to mile, are in three times as many fatal crashes as other drivers, claiming the lives of nearly 3,000 drivers ages 15-19 each year. The under-20 age group also has the highest proportion of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes. According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, there were 327 Ohio teens killed in traffic crashes during the 2009-2011 period.
"These are very serious lessons conducted in a way that resonates with young people and will hopefully make them stop and think when they drive," said Graham. "We have fun for a few hours, but the experience will help protect these drivers for a lifetime."
"Both our sons attended the Columbus skills day," said Wendy Lomano, Ohio parent. "They came home that afternoon very excited and talked non-stop about everything they learned. Thank you for putting on such a valuable, fun, exciting, and educational day!
Singer, songwriter, actress and Ford Driving Skills for Life spokesperson Kate Voegele joined the tour in her home state of Ohio. Kate learned safe driving tips and put on a pair of drunken driving goggles to better understand the dangerous effects of driving while impaired.
Ford Driving Skills for Life has trained more than 500,000 new drivers through free online and professional hands-on driver instruction. The Ford DSFL National Tour continues next month in Alaska before moving on to Montana and Idaho.
"My daughter was at yesterday's session, and not only did she have a great time, she learned a lot," said Angie Weber Kennedy, Ohio parent. "Thanks! We will be back in 2 years when our son is old enough."