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Drive Of Your Life

Advanced driving skills program begins second decade

Andy Bolig - March 20, 2014 09:38 AM

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In its first 10 years, Ford Driving Skills for Life has directly trained more than 30,000 teens in nearly 900 school districts in 39 states, plus 15 international markets.

Ford Driving Skills for Life, the free, advanced driving skills program for novice drivers, is launching its second decade in 2014 with an expanded reach and mission as it continues to address dangerous trends and challenges faced by teens and other new drivers.

“Over the last 10 years we have taken pride in our ability to adjust the curriculum to keep up with the constantly changing world awaiting teens and other new drivers,” said Jim Graham,Ford Driving Skills for Life manager. “We listen to the needs and concerns of teen drivers, and modify the program to keep it fresh and relevant.”This year Ford Driving Skills for Life will continue to reinforce the importance of “hands on the wheel, eyes on the road” while driving.
 
A new element in the curriculum is designed to warn of the dangerous new trend of taking mobile self-portraits while behind the wheel, known as driving selfies. The hands-on portion of the program will demonstrate the distraction created by taking selfies while driving on a closed course. The online portion will also explain the risks associated with taking driving selfies.

Ford’s Driving Skills for Life program was established in 2003 by the Ford Motor Company Fund, the Governor's Highway Safety Association and a panel of safety experts with the mission of teaching newly-licensed teens the necessary skills for safer driving and the importance of making good decisions while driving. The program encourages parental involvement, which can contribute greatly to developing safe driving habits. In its first 10 years, Ford Driving Skills for Life has directly trained more than 30,000 teens in nearly 900 school districts in 39 states, plus 15 international markets.

New technology
To address the issue of impaired driving, this year also marks introduction of a drunk driving suit that was initially created for the program’s recent expansion into Europe. The suit replicates some of the physical challenges experienced by a person under the influence of alcohol.

“Currently, we use goggles that cause a driver to become disoriented to help demonstrate some of the effects of impaired driving,” said Graham. “The drunk driving suit will take this demonstration to a whole new level by adding features to the rest of the body to simulate how alcohol impairs the driver physically. ”Weights added to the arms and legs of a student wearing the drunk driving suit cause that person to be encumbered and off balance. Weights and pads also slow reaction time, which creates the sensation of a driver’s reflexes and movements being impaired.

Other changes coming to the program this year include an upgraded website and new materials in the free, online Ford Driving Skills for Life Academy, which can be found at www.drivingskillsforlife.com.

2014 U.S. schedule
Dallas, TX
Springfield, IL
Chicago, IL
Detroit, MI
Salt Lake City, UT
Denver, CO
Kansas City, KS
Indianapolis, IN
Charleston, W.Va.
Phoenix, AZ
Tucson, AZ

 

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