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DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 3, 2017 – As technology inundates our world, Ford Driving Skills for Life kicks off its 14th year continuing to help new drivers stay safe behind the wheel by providing instruction in time-tested techniques.
p>With a focus on vehicle handling, hazard recognition, speed management and space management, distraction and impaired operation, Ford Motor Company’s signature safe driving program launches its 2017 tour at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, Feb. 4-5. Other upcoming dates include March 4-5 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California, and April 22-23 at NRG Stadium in Houston. Additional tour dates will be shared regularly on www.drivingskillsforlife.com.
Since 2003, Ford Driving Skills for Life has provided free driver training in a hands-on environment to more than 1 million newly licensed drivers around the world.
“Driving safely is not about downloading the latest app,” said James Graham, global manager, Ford Driving Skills for Life. “We look forward to expanding our efforts to help reduce the number of crashes and fatalities through teaching real-world training and improved decision-making skills. Working with all of our partner organizations in 35 countries, we believe we are making a substantial contribution to safer driving.”
The award-winning program captures teen and parent interest with free ride-and-drive courses that pair newly licensed drivers with professional driving instructors. The focus is on the issues and obstacles drivers face that cause crashes.
In addition to warning about the dangers of impaired and distracted driving through Ford’s drugged and drunk driving suits, this year will feature virtual reality training tools to help new drivers navigate traffic circles, pedestrians and bicyclists.
Special emphasis for 2017 includes instruction for drivers ages 18-20, who are involved in more fatal crashes than younger teens. In addition, many organizations serving teens will incorporate “The Academy,” a web-based curriculum at www.drivingskillsforlife.com, into their programs. Grants will also be provided to states to focus on latest issues facing drivers.
Working with its national partner, Governors Highway Safety Association, Ford Driving Skills for Life will cover 15 markets in the United States this year, including Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. The hands-on program will serve more than 150 markets globally, with stops now including Hungary and Norway.
“Mission Not Accomplished: Teen Safe Driving, the Next Chapter,” a Governors Highway Safety Association report released in October, shows that despite progress reducing teen driving deaths from 2005 to 2014, teen drivers are still 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than adults 35-40. Data shows teen driver-involved traffic crashes and fatalities increased 10 percent in 2016 over 2015 – the first increase since 2006.
“Despite progress in recent years, teens continue to be overrepresented in motor vehicle crashes and fatalities across the country,” said Jonathan Adkins, executive director, Governors Highway Safety Association. “For this reason, the association and the State Highway Safety Office are looking forward to bringing this powerful program to even more teens and their parents – coast to coast and around the globe.”
*Source: Governors Highway Safety Association “Mission Not Accomplished: Teen Safe Driving, the Next Chapter”