Nobody can argue that driving isn't dangerous. And it's especially perilous when done recklessly or with distractions. Ford is keenly aware of just how dangerous driving is: the company reiterates that vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death of teenagers in America. Enter the Ford Driving Skills for Life program, a national series of special events designed to encourage the preservation of new teenage drivers. The program started 14 years ago, in 2003. Then in 2007, Ford began collaborating with law enforcement, schools, and state officials to enhance the effectiveness of the program.
Established by the Ford Motor Company Fund, the Governors Highway Association, and a panel of safety experts, Ford Driving Skills for Life is an international program intended to extend the knowledge and skill set of new drivers beyond basic driver education courses. Available in 35 countries, the program covers hazard recognition, vehicle handling, speed management, space management, and distracted and impaired driving. Most importantly, teens and their parents can participate at no direct monetary cost. The program is also partnered with over 12 different organizations including the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. The program also features numerous resources including information kits, media tools, and affiliate programs from its partners and different communities.
Ford Driving Skills for Life returned to Illinois to continue its annual tradition of training teens in Tazewell County. Tazewell started the Operation Teen Safe Driving Initiative in 2007 after the loss of 15 local teens over 15 months in 2005. The program would later expand its reach all over the state. The effectiveness of Ford’s program under the Illinois initiative has not been understated. There has been a 50 percent reduction in teen fatalities since the program started. The international reach of the program has proven to be no less impressive with 6,100 Europeans trained last year.