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Ford Driving Skills for Life logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Billerica Memorial High School Receives Teen Driver Safety
Investment from Ford Motor Company Fund

Billerica, MA, Sept. 27, 2011—Ford Motor Company is bringing its national, award-winning teen safe driving program, Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL), to Billerica Memorial High School this Thursday, September 29th.

In response to growing awareness about teen fatalities and driver distraction, the Ford Motor Company Fund, along with the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), announced in February a $1,000,000 expansion of Ford DSFL, with a 30-city national tour. The expansion added a new component to Ford DSFL’s hands-on programs and web-based training. In Massachusetts, Billerica Memorial High School was selected to participate in the program.

Distracted driving is a deadly epidemic on America’s roads. Teens are especially vulnerable because of their inexperience behind the wheel and the peer pressure. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 16 percent of all drivers under age 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been driving while distracted.

NHTSA says distracted driving kills more than 6,000 people each year.

The Patrick-Murray Administration Safe Driving Law went into effect September 30, 2010. It bans texting for all drivers and all cell phone use by drivers under 18 years old. Although legislation is a step in the right direction, public education also plays a critical role in changing driving behaviors.

On Thursday, the students at Billerica Memorial High School will participate in hands-on training modules that will equip each student with the fundamental skills necessary for safe driving.

“We are so pleased to team up with Ford Motor Company in delivering this very important message about safety and driving to our students,” said Kevin Soraghan, Billerica Memorial High School principal. “We are extremely excited to have the Ford team visit us to talk about driving safety and responsibility. It is an important message that needs to be shared with our students.”

Established in 2003 by the Ford Motor Company Fund, the Governors Highway Safety Association and a panel of safety experts, Ford Driving Skills for Life teaches newly-licensed teens the necessary skills for safe driving beyond what they learn in standard driver education programs.

"Getting a driver's license, and the freedom that comes with it is an exciting milestone for our students,” said Principal Soraghan. “Often, that excitement overshadows the reality that driving a car takes concentration and skill. Ford's Driving Skills for Life gives them a hands-on experience that shows them the importance of driver safety and responsibility.”

Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers throughout the nation. Specifically, the majority of these crashes are attributed to inexperience in four key skills: Distractions, Vehicle Handling, Space Management and Speed Management—all areas of concentration in the Ford DSFL program.

“The Massachusetts Highway Safety Division, like Ford, is eager to help young drivers understand the responsibilities that come with a driver’s license,” said Division Director Shelia Burgess. “Younger drivers are especially vulnerable due to their inexperience behind the wheel. We know that distracted or impaired driving, excessive speed, driving while unbelted, and not knowing how to properly handle a skid are all factors that can contribute to a crash with serious injuries. Ford’s Driving Skills for Life program is an asset that helps us educate young drivers against those dangers.”

Who: Representatives from Ford Driving Skills for Life
Local Police Department
MA Highway Patrol
Community Partners
What: Ford Driving Skills for Life
When/Where: Thursday, September 29, 2011
7:15 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Billerica Memorial High School
365 Boston Road
Billerica, MA 01821

Ford DSFL will accommodate requests to ride in a training vehicle with the drivers and students. Please send requests.

Follow at:
www.facebook.com/FordDrivingSkillsForLife
www.drivingskillsforlife.com

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About Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services
Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community partners to advance driving safety, education and American heritage and community life. The Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 60 years with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. The award-winning Ford Driving Skills for Life program teaches new drivers through a variety of hands-on and interactive methods. Innovation in education is encouraged through national programs that enhance high school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants. Through the Ford Volunteer Corps, more than 20,000 Ford employees and retirees work on projects that better their communities in dozens of countries. For more information, visit www.community.ford.com

Contact: Cara Cromwell
401-440-0090
Cara.Cromwell@cox.net