Driving Skills for Life Video Game is Newest Tool for New Drivers
There are many ways to a teenager’s heart and one of them is through video games. With that in mind, Ford Driving Skills for Life (DFSL) and Michigan State University (MSU) have teamed up to produce a new video game that is designed to capture young hearts and minds to help keep them safe behind the wheel.
“Research has found driving simulation can effectively introduce new drivers to potentially life-saving skills,” says Jim Graham, manager, Ford Driving Skills for Life. “Tens of thousands of new drivers have attended our driving clinics, but this new game will provide millions of new drivers the opportunity to test and develop their skills online and on their schedule.”
The online video game is patterned after DSFL’s award-winning driving exercises – a key element of the program. The game was developed by MSU’s Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab. Using the latest gaming technology, the game simulates the hands-on driving exercises taught in traditional Ford DSFL driving clinics. The new game can be accessed on the Ford Driving Skills for Life website.
"Many drivers in training have been playing video games for years. Through the game, we are able to leverage the engagement and fun of gaming technology and use it to create an educational experience that is appealing to these new drivers," states Brian Winn, Director of the Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab at Michigan State University. "Given the safety of the game environment, we are able to put players in situations that simulate hands-on training, thereby avoiding making potentially deadly mistakes in the real-world."
More than 3,000 teens ages 15-19 are killed each year on American roads, making traffic fatalities the leading cause of death of American teens, according to government statistics. As the most comprehensive driving skills program in the U.S., Ford DSFL is designed to make a difference by reducing these preventable tragedies. Now in its ninth year, Ford DSFL is a partnership between Ford Motor Company Fund and the Governors Highway Safety Association. The program includes free professional driver instruction, a Web-based curriculum, free educational materials, state grants and statewide education partnerships.
Ford DSFL, in partnership with AAA Michigan, Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning and Henry Ford Hospital-West Bloomfield, also is launched “Strive for a Safer Drive” – a Michigan statewide effort that includes peer-to-peer safe driving campaigns, use of simulators in schools and professional hands-on driving clinics. The program will reach more than 30 high schools during the six-month period and is patterned after a similar DSFL partnership that helped reduce teen traffic fatalities by 45 percent in Illinois.