For Immediate Release:
August 3, 2021
OTS Marketing and Public Affairs
Ford Driving Skills for Life Returns to California Beginning Aug. 7
Spots still available for Oceanside. Sacramento Clinics
- Hands-on driving sessions focusing on critical factors influencing teen crashes: vehicle handling, hazard recognition, speed, space management, distraction and impairment.
- Ford Driving Skills for Life and the Governors Highway Safety Association have invested more than $1 million in 2021 to improve teen driving skills and reduce motor vehicle crashes, which are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens.
- During the pandemic, traffic deaths surged reaching a 13-year high even though there was a significant decline in driving. The Driving Skills for Life event in Anaheim, which will include COVID-19 safety protocols, marks the first, in person hands-on training sessions since the pandemic began.
Elk Grove, Calif. – The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), Ford Motor Company Fund and California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) are teaming up to provide free safe driving clinics for teens in Northern and Southern California throughout August.
The hands-on Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) program will launch in Anaheim, Calif., Aug. 7-8, followed by stops in Oceanside Aug. 21-22 and the Sacramento region Aug. 28-29.
Driving Skills for Life will host 38 safe-driving training sessions as part of an eight-city tour, with other stops in Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Nashville and Phoenix. Parents/ guardians may register their teen(s) for a free training session at drivingskillsforlife.com.
Now in its 18th year, Ford Driving Skills for Life pairs newly licensed drivers with professional driving instructors for next-level instruction. The program addresses the critical factors responsible for most crashes, including vehicle handling, hazard recognition, speed and space management, distracted driving and impaired driving. The clinics focus on skills and information not currently offered in standard driver education courses.
“We know that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens,” said Jonathan Adkins, GHSA Executor Director. “Each year, more than 2,000 teen vehicle occupant deaths occur. Speeding and inexperience are often critical factors in these accidents.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 38,680 people were killed on U.S roadways in 2020, the highest number since 2007 and an increase of 7.2% from the year before. Alarmingly, traffic deaths surged in 2020, reaching a 13-year high even though there was a significant decline in driving during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, recent studies have revealed that parents are frustrated and concerned with the lack of in-car training offered to newly licensed teen drivers, especially during the pandemic.
“The lack of experience of newly licensed drivers remains a serious problem resulting in a disproportionate number of crashes for teens. We are grateful to be able to safely resume free, hands-on training that is so desperately needed,” said Jim Graham, Global Manager, Ford Driving Skills for Life.
In California, drivers ages 16-19 are nearly three times as likely to be in a serious crash compared to other drivers. In California, 164 teens ages 16 to 19 were killed in crashes in 2019, with 354 drivers 20 and under involved in deadly crashes across the U.S. over the same time period.
“Experience and training make for better drivers, particularly newly licensed teens,” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. “We are thrilled to kick off this great program in California that puts parents at ease by providing teens with life-long safe driving skills.”
Around the world, Ford Driving Skills for Life trainings are being resumed in many countries throughout North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Since 2008, the international Ford Driving Skills for Life program has grown and provided valuable insights into addressing road safety issues worldwide.Ford Driving Skills for Life has invested more than $60 million to provide free, advanced driver education to more than 1 million newly licensed teen drivers in all 50 U.S. states and 46 countries worldwide since 2003. For more information and updates on tour locations as well as COVID-19 safety protocols, visit drivingskillsforlife.com.
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About Ford Driving Skills for Life
Ford Driving Skills for Life was established in 2003 by Ford Motor Company Fund, the Governors Highway Safety Association, and a panel of safety experts to teach newly licensed teens and parents the necessary skills for safe driving. Now in its fifteenth year, the premise behind Ford Driving Skills for Life is to provide a step in the learning process by providing new skills and information not currently shared with newly licensed drivers in the basic driver education courses. The program has trained more than 1 million individuals in safe driving practices. It is been offered in over 46 countries, and hands-on driving clinics have been conducted in all 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. For more information visit www.drivingskillsforlife.com.
About Governors Highway Safety Association
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter @GHSAHQ.
About California Office of Traffic Safety
The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) administers traffic safety grants that deliver innovative programs and help to eliminate traffic fatalities and injuries on California roads. The OTS grant programs identify and address a variety of behavioral issues that impact traffic safety such as alcohol and drug-impaired driving, distracted driving, occupant protection, and bicycle and pedestrian safety. To learn more about the OTS, visit ots.ca.gov and gosafelyca.org. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @OTS_CA and @GoSafelyCA, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CaliforniaOTS and www.facebook.com/GoSafelyCA.