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GHSA News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2009

Contact: Kara Macek of GHSA
(202)789-0942, ext. 14

Ford Motor Company Fund and Governors Highway Safety Association Bring Teen Driving Summer Camp to Minnesota

Summer is the deadliest time for teen drivers

ST. PAUL, Minn.—In an effort to reduce teen crashes and fatalities in Minnesota, the Ford Motor Company Fund, the Governors Highway Safety Association, Westfield Insurance and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety are hosting Twin Cities’ teens at the Ford Driving Skills for Life teen driving summer camp. This free, once-in-a-lifetime driving experience is being held at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul, June 26–28.

Vehicle crashes are the number-one killer of teens in Minnesota and nationwide. In Minnesota 2006–2008, teen drivers (16–19) were involved in 48,799 traffic crashes, resulting in 226 deaths. In all, 137 teens ages 16–19 were killed in crashes.

Students will receive hands-on advanced training by some of the nation’s top professional driving instructors. Participants will learn techniques in four key skill areas: speed management, space management, vehicle handling and hazard recognition. Experts have identified the lack of these skills to be the cause of approximately 60 percent of vehicle crashes for newly licensed drivers ages 16 to 19. Through the training camp, teens will gain valuable driving experience and improve their driving safety skills; parents are welcome to attend as well.

“We are looking forward to bringing the Ford Driving Skills for Life program to Minnesota,” said Jim Graham, community relations manager of the Ford Motor Company Fund. “The Ford Driving Skills for Life program is designed to help teens learn important lessons in road safety that are often not discovered until it is too late. The Ford Motor Company Fund is committed to combating the alarming rate of teen crashes and fatalities.”

Cheri Marti, director of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety and a member of GHSA’s executive board, says this event is important to give new teen drivers hands-on experience. She adds the program encourages parents to stay involved in continuing to train and monitor their teen drivers.

“Teen drivers pose a threat to themselves, their passengers and other drivers due to their inexperience and risk-taking behind the wheel,” says Marti, noting summer is the deadliest period on the road for teen drivers. “This program is a great opportunity to teach teens valuable skills they need to avoid tragedy on the road.”

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Ford Driving Skills for Life was created in 2003 in partnership with the GHSA. It is one of the nation's most comprehensive teen driver safety programs. In addition to hands-on events such as the event being held in St. Paul, it consists of learning tools such as an interactive Web site (www.drivingskillsforlife.com) that includes a learning module, quizzes, car care videos, driving tip videos, interactive games and an enhanced eco-driving curriculum. Free educator packets are available for students and parents, as well as teachers and community programs. Additionally, individual programs can be created to meet the specific needs of communities and schools.

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.