Ford Driving Skills for Life celebrates its 15th anniversary this year with significant program expansions and the addition of new technologies to help new drivers stay safe on the road.
The 2018 U.S. Driving Skills for Life tour kicks off this month in New Orleans at NOLA Motorsports Park. A signature program of the Ford Motor Company Fund, Driving Skills for Life has provided free driver training to more than 1 million new licensed drivers in 40 countries. Ford has committed more than $50 million to date to this award-winning program.
Ford Driving Skills for Life captures teen and parent interest with free, hands-on driving courses that pair newly licensed drivers with professional driving instructors, focusing on the issues and obstacles drivers face that cause crashes, including impaired and distracted driving due to the use of drugs and alcohol.
“As we celebrate 15 years of stellar programing to keep new drivers safe, we continue to build momentum with new technologies that help to ensure smart driving,” said James Graham, global manager, Ford Driving Skills for Life. “Our program is expanding in multiple ways – by reaching more people here and abroad, and by offering cutting-edge technologies that enhance our curriculum. We look forward to many more years of success. And we are proud to be the global leader in training new drivers to keep them safer behind the wheel.”
Highlights of this year’s Ford Driving Skills for Life program include:
13-city U.S. tour to include communities and cities new to the hands-on experience
15-year celebration to acknowledge key Driving Skills for Life partners
Expansion of the international program to Cambodia, Czech Republic and Morocco. Women in Saudi Arabia will receive training for the first time
New virtual reality innovations that will improve technical skills such as maneuvering through roundabouts
Unveiling of a new distracted driving tool in the United States, with students donning goggles that allow them to experience a driving situation that forces them to make real-world decisions, such as managing text messages, navigation systems and passenger distractions while on the road
Use of a new hangover suit, primarily for adult drivers; suit simulates the difficulty of driving while recovering from excessive consumption of alcohol
Introduction of a pilot program in rural markets starting in North Carolina and South Carolina; implementation to be done in partnership with Vidant Healthcare to explore the unique needs in rural communities
A refresh of “The Academy,” a web-based curriculum at www.drivingskillsforlife.com; new training will be available to teens and parents, as well as serve as a refresher to nontraditional adult drivers. Outside of the United States, this has been useful to those who operate buses, taxis and ride-sharing services
Working with its national partner, Governors Highway Safety Association, the Ford Driving Skills for Life tour will reach Arizona, California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia this year. It will include a summer tour across the Midwest touching Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio.
Despite progress to reduce teen driving deaths, teen drivers have crash rates three times higher than drivers age 20 and older per mile driven, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. The association notes that in 2016, 16- to 20-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes increased by 3.6 percent.
“Novice drivers continue to pose a risk to themselves and others, as teen driver fatalities have increased in recent years,” said Jonathan Adkins, executive director, Governors Highway Safety Association. “Since its inception in 2003, Ford Driving Skills for Life has been a valuable educational supplement for new drivers, especially in communities where traditional driving instruction is no longer offered. We are looking forward to the expansion of this powerful program and the many new technologies it will introduce.”
For more information and updates on tour locations, visit www.drivingskillsforlife.com.