According to data from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Highway Safety Office, 34 Virginia teens behind the wheel were killed in car crashes in 2012. While Virginia has seen a reduction in teen driving fatalities from 75 in 2006, more attention is needed to combat this number one killer of teens in the United States.
Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) seeks to address the main cause of car crashes involving teenagers—inexperience. The free program will be hosting three days of free hands-on training October 11, 12, and 13 at Dulles International Airport’s Purple Lot. Parents can sign their teens up for one of these sessions at www.drivingskillsforlife.com.
The program, designed by a panel of safety experts, will focus on building the skills of young drivers in several key areas. The program will demonstrate the dangerous effects of distractions in the car like texting while driving or carrying too many passengers. Teens will also learn how to steer a car safely out of a slide. The exercises will put students in real-world driving scenarios in a controlled environment so they are equipped with knowledge that could save their life in the future.
A recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) shows that teen driver fatalities are on the rise among 16- and 17-year-old drivers nationwide. Also, analysis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) traffic data shows that in 2011 there were approximately 2,300 traffic fatalities among those ages 15 to 19.
“To help prevent the tragedy of traffic fatalities involving teenagers, we are happy to work with programs like Ford Driving Skills for Life,” John Saunders, Director of the Virginia Highway Safety Office and Vice Chairman of the Governors Highway Safety Association, said in a statement. “Educational efforts can be part of a broad effort to save lives, by teaching useful skills to these inexperienced drivers.”
“The issue of inexperience with newly licensed drivers is serious, and we are proud to provide a step in the learning process to help teens gain more experience with real-life scenarios, as well as educate parents on some best practices that will help their teens become better drivers,” Jim Graham, manager of Ford’s Driving Skills for Life program, stated. “Ford Motor Company Fund is very pleased to bring our award-winning safe driving hands-on training program to Virginia teens, parents and educators.”
Research conducted for the Ford DSFL program also shows that teens tend to follow in their parents’ footsteps when it comes to driving habits. Parents can help address the problem simply by setting a good example behind the wheel. These good habits include everything from not speeding and buckling up, to teaching their children how to scan for potential hazards while driving. Parents are invited to attend one of the hands-on training sessions with their teen October 11, 12 or 13.
For the 10th year, Ford Motor Company Fund and the GHSA are bringing Ford DSFL directly to young drivers and their parents across the country through a variety of activities. Ford DSFL is the most comprehensive teen safe driving program in the United States and has trained more than 550,000 new drivers around the globe through online and hands-on professional driver instruction.
Reducing the number of traffic fatalities and injuries remains the key mission for Ford DSFL, which bridges the experience gap for new drivers with specialized training. More information can be found online at www.DrivingSkillsforLife.com.
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 community life. For more than 60 years, Ford Motor Company Fund has operated 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 25,000 Ford employees and dealers work on projects each year that better their communities in more than 20 countries. For more information, visit www.community.ford.com.
About the Governors Highway Safety Association
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, enhance program management and promote best practices. 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.