For the 10th year new drivers around the world will get an opportunity to improve their skills through the Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) program. Traffic fatalities are the leading killer of American teens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with about 2,700 drivers ages 16-19 killed annually on American roads.
"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."
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). 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.
This year's plans include visits to at least 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. Ford DSFL will visit high schools in California, Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia and Arizona with an array of activities focused on distracted driving and other common driving challenges faced by teen drivers. Teens will be invited to community hands-on driving clinics utilizing specially equipped vehicles. The clinics offer professional drivers and multifaceted activities that build skills in four key areas: driver distraction, speed/space management, vehicle handling and hazard recognition.
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 through a competition for innovative teen-led safe driving campaigns at more than 105 high schools. The Strive 4 A Safer Drive program in Michigan is modeled after the Illinois program and will reach almost 40 high schools this year.
In 2013 Ford DSFL is launching an enhanced version of the interactive Web-based training called "The Academy" on its website www.drivingskillsforlife.com - which will be redesigned during the first half of the year. Expanded use of social media and interactive Web-based tools also is under way in the Asia Pacific region. Other free materials are available upon request for students, educators, parents and community organizations.