When a young person gets their driver’s license it can be an exciting time for both the new driver and their parents. Less being your child’s personal chauffeur and more independence for them. But, as a parent, it’s also one of the scariest times. No parent wants to get that call that their child was in a car accident. So it’s nice to hear about safe driving programs being offered by car manufacturers like Ford.
Now in its 17th year, Ford Driving Skills for Life is expanding its 2020 U.S. tour to offer more than 80 safe-driving training sessions in 18 cities across the country.
Ford Driving Skills for Life captures teen and parent interest with safe driving clinics that pair newly licensed drivers with professional driving instructors and address critical factors influencing teen crashes: vehicle handling, hazard recognition, speed, space management, distraction and impairment. The clinics focus on skills and information not currently offered in standard driver education courses.
“Despite progress in recent years, teens continue to be overrepresented in motor vehicle crashes and fatalities across the country and vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for newly licensed drivers,” said Jim Graham, global manger, Ford Driving Skills for Life. “We look forward to continuing and expanding our efforts to help reduce the number of crashes and fatalities through real-world training and improved decision-making skills. Working with all of our partner organizations we believe we are making a substantial contribution to safer driving.”
The program will further adapt its curriculum this year to address disparities between beliefs and actions among Generation Z drivers. A 2019 global survey commissioned by Ford Driving Skills for Life found 65% of U.S and 79% of Canadian Gen Z drivers agree that using a mobile device while driving is a serious offense and should result in severe punishment. Yet 62% of U.S. and 58% of Canadian Gen Z drivers still do it. Ford Driving Skills for Life will work to raise awareness of these and other alarming disparities to help minimize risky Gen Z driving behaviors.
“Teen and new driver inexperience often result in dangerous behaviors such as speeding, alcohol use and not wearing a seat belt – all of which contribute to increased risk for new drivers,” said Jonathan Adkins, executive director, Governors Highway Safety Association. “For this reason, the association and State Highway Safety Offices are looking forward to bringing this powerful program to even more teens and their parents – coast to coast and around the globe.”
A signature program of Ford Motor Company Fund, Ford Driving Skills for Life has invested more than $60 million to provide free, advanced driver education to more than 1 million new licensed drivers in all 50 U.S. states and 46 countries worldwide since 2003.
These clinics provide great opportunities for teens to gain experience, with a professional instructor at their side, in the four primary skills - Hazard Recognition, Vehicle Handling, Speed Management and Space Management. Teens will also be taught the issues surrounding distracted and impaired driving, including the negative effects of drugs and/or alcohol on the driving process.
Some of the cities where Ford Driving Skills for Life will be are: Orlando, Anaheim, Atlanta, Nashville, Louisville, Columbus, Detroit, Boston, Chicago, Omaha, Sioux Falls, Dallas and Phoenix. Other stops are scheduled as some dates and locations are still to be determined.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. In addition to being a nationally syndicated automotive columnist, Jimmy has been published in a compilation book about children growing up with disabilities, where he shared his own very personal experience. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Find most of Jimmy's stories at Torque News Ford and Torque News Ford Mustang. Search Torque News Ford daily Mustang, F-150 and other Ford news stories from our expert automotive reporters.