Ford Global Driving Skills Program Aims To Save Lives
Ford is stepping up its Global Driving Skills for Life Program, which so far has trained 500,000 new drivers to safely operate their vehicles. Done in partnership with the Governors Highway Safety Association, GHSA, the program kicks off its ninth year of saving teen and other drivers’ lives.
School Outreach. The company will visit 30 high schools in five states with a truck displaying specially equipped vehicles with professional instructors. Ford, where were you when we were in High School? The full day of driving activities designed to build young drivers’ skills that target four key areas: driver distraction, speed/space management, vehicle handling and hazard recognition. Last year the company worked with 35,000 teen drivers on its high school tours. What this means is hopefully 35,000 less spatially challenged drivers who will not damage our cars.
Ethics. The numbers speak for themselves, with more than 3,000 teenagers killed on roads each year, it has become the number 1 traffic fatality, according to government statistics. By providing free professional driver instruction, a web-based curriculum, state grants and materials, Ford answers an ethical dilemma, that of carmakers giving multi-thousand pound potential lethal vehicles in the hands of untrained drivers.
Global Outreach. Tailored for each global markets to reflect the local driving environment and road conditions, the program is in its fifth year of training newly licensed drivers in Asia, specifically China, India, Taiwan, South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia where first time drivers of any age can attend. So far, 50,000 have participated in the program across Asia with another 12,000 expected in 2012.
Why Is This Important? There are many ethical issues at work here. Carmakers have shown incredible short sightedness in the past when it came to selling cars quickly at any cost. Fighting local governments to ease environmental mandates, backing states in giving away drivers license cheaply and quickly might have been good for short and medium-term bottom line but its toll on human lives have taken a big hit over the decades. By offering such a program, Ford not only takes responsibility by training new drivers to better handle their future ride, it also shows its new face, that of being socially aware, on top of its environmental efforts. The automobile world is a complete state of flux as it strives to reinvent itself, it moves closer to the technology world, this time hopefully keeping in mind the human context and not just the bean counters. Ford is continuing track to completely dominate the domestic automobile industry.