FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 2007
Safety Public Affairs
Ford Motor Company
Marketing & Communications
Ford and Governors Highway Safety Association Announce 2007 Driving Skills for Life Teen Safety Program
DEARBORN, Mich.—Ford Motor Company and Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) today announced plans for the Driving Skills For Life (DSFL) teen driving program. This marks the fourth year of this innovative partnership.
Developed in 2003 by Ford Motor Company, the GHSA and a panel of safety experts, Driving Skills for Life aims to help newly licensed drivers develop skills necessary for safe driving beyond what they learn in driver education programs. The educational materials complement state graduated licensing laws by allowing parents or guardians to take an active role as their teens learn the rules of the road. More than 9.5 million people participated in 2006 on the Web site, www.drivingskillsforlife.com, and over 1,000 teens took part last year in DSFL driving events. This unique program has been hailed by community, law enforcement and high school leaders and parents throughout the nation.
Driving Skills for Life will be hitting the road again in 2007 for a series of the hands-on driving events that are free to all participants. New for 2007, DSFL plans to partner with states to bring the events to communities in California, Tennessee, Illinois, Ohio and Texas. In addition, the successful DSFL Summer Camp event launched in 2006 in Detroit will be conducted in the Pittsburgh area this summer. Each of these events will allow students to hone their skills on specially designed driving courses under the supervision of a team of professional instructors. Additional partnerships are being formed with schools and teen-based community organizations across the country in an effort to reach as many teens as possible.
Vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teenagers in America. Nearly 7,000 teens die annually in automobile crashes in the United States. Studies demonstrate that crash rates decline considerably as young drivers gain experience behind the wheel. Driving Skills for Life helps young drivers improve their skills in four key areas that are critical factors in more than 60 percent of teen vehicle crashes:
- Hazard Recognition
- Vehicle Handling
- Space Management
- Speed Management
"As a leading automotive company with a long history of safety innovation, we believed it was essential to take action to address this teen driving issue," said Ziad Ojakli, group vice president, Corporate Affairs, Ford Motor Company. "DSFL is the program that continues to make a big difference in this area."
The program, coordinated by the Ford Motor Company Fund, provides effective learning tools, including the comprehensive interactive Web site that rewards students for taking the initiative to learn safe driving techniques. Several new learning modules will be introduced in 2007, including a car care module designed to assist teens who encounter vehicle problems on the road. In addition, educator materials are available at no charge in both English and Spanish, allowing instruction of the program in school or community settings.
"We are very proud of our partnership with Ford Motor Company on the DSFL program," said Christopher J. Murphy, chairman of GHSA. "The program has helped provide assistance to teens and their parents beyond driver education programs. As a parent of teenagers myself, I appreciate this highly interactive program."
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Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures and distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. The company's core and affiliated automotive brands include Aston Martin, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury and Volvo. Its automotive-related services include Ford Motor Credit Company.
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)® is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy and enhance program management. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org.