Ford DSFL Doubles Down on Driver Safety
Program Marks 10th Anniversary with New National Tour
Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) is taking the wheel once again and handing it over to new teenage drivers. Don’t worry mom and dad. They’ll be weaving around a specially designed course with a professional driver sitting right next to them.
The 10th year of Ford DSFL is underway and giving teens an opportunity to sharpen their skills while learning new ways to drive safely. In 2013 Ford DSFL will reach about 200 high schools with its safe driving materials, thanks to Ford Motor Company Fund and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).
"Inexperience is the leading cause of crashes in young drivers, and Ford Driving Skills for Life includes a variety of engaging and targeted methods to deliver key skill sets that boost young drivers’ confidence and knowledge,” said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. “Our mission is to make the roads safer for everyone."
Traffic fatalities are the leading killer of American teens. Nearly 3,000 teens, ages 15-19, are killed on the roads each year, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). GHSA calls Ford Driving Skills for Life the nation’s most comprehensive teen safe driving program, with hands-on community driving events, Web-based learning, government grants, fun contests and free educational materials for parents and teachers.
"Ford’s commitment to partnering with states on teen driver education remains unprecedented,” said GHSA Chairman Kendell Poole. “With state and federal highway safety funding continuing to be limited, Ford’s support is increasingly critical."
This year’s plans include visits to about 40 high schools to reach about 40,000 teen drivers, which is almost double the number of students reached during last year’s high school tour. The tour began in California and will visit high schools in Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia and Arizona with an array of activities focused on distracted driving and other common driving challenges faced by teen drivers. In each area, teens will be invited to community hands-on driving clinics with professional drivers and multifaceted activities that build skills in four key areas: driver distraction, speed/space management, vehicle handling and hazard recognition.
"This was such an eye opening experience for not just my daughter, a new driver, but also a reminder for myself as an experienced driver,” said Tai Bennett-Oliver, parent. “We learned a lot and really enjoyed the entire program. I have been highly recommending it to others."
"I had a great time and learned some important driving tips,” said Dallas Wright, teen driver. “The Mustangs were really fun and the groups were sized perfectly. Thank you."
Ford DSFL is continuing its partnerships with the Illinois Department of Transportation and Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning to bring two innovative programs to schools. Now in its sixth year, Operation Teen Safe Driving has helped to reduce teen auto fatalities in Illinois by 48 percent. Strive 4 A Safer Drive in Michigan is modeled after the Illinois program and will reach almost 40 high schools this year.
Outside of the U.S., Ford DSFL works to reduce the number of traffic fatalities and injuries by teaching safe driving skills to licensed drivers of all ages. Ford DSFL is now in its sixth year in Asia with programs in mainland China, India, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and South Africa. About 13,500 drivers were trained last year and more than 63,000 people have been trained since the program began there. Ford DSFL also has been introduced in the Middle East.
"This program was amazing and the instructors make a difference,” said Hilary Dixon, parent. “Thank you all for your dedication and time spent to all our young drivers."
Ford DSFL is launching an enhanced version of the interactive Web-based training called “The Academy” on its website www.drivingskillsforlife.com. Other free materials are available upon request for students, educators, parents and community organizations.