In response to growing awareness about teen fatalities and driver distraction, the Ford Motor Company Fund, along with the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), announced in February a $1,000,000 expansion of Ford DSFL, with a 30-city national tour. The expansion added a new component to Ford DSFL’s hands-on programs and web-based training. In Maine, Scarborough High School and Bonny Eagle High School have been selected to participate in the program.
According to the Maine Transportation Safety Coalition, drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 years old account for only 13% of Maine drivers. Yet they account for 36% of all auto accidents. They also are more likely to be involved in severe crashes—those involving personal injury or death. In Maine, the injury rate for younger drivers is three times higher than that for drivers older than 24. There is a direct relationship between the age of the driver and the risk of a crash or injury.
The students at Scarborough and Bonny Eagle High Schools will participate in hands-on training modules that will equip each student with the fundamental skills necessary for safe driving.
"Getting a driver's license, and the freedom that comes with it is an exciting milestone for a our students. Often, that excitement overshadows the reality that driving a car takes concentration and skill. Ford's Driving Skills for Life gives them a hands-on experience that shows them the importance of driver safety and responsibility,"
“Bonny Eagle is pleased to team up with Ford Motor Company in delivering this very important message about safety and driving to our students,” said Assistant Principal Tim Stebbins. “We are extremely excited to have the Ford team visit us on September 15 to talk about driving safety and responsibility.”
Established in 2003 by the Ford Motor Company Fund, the Governors Highway Safety Association and a panel of safety experts, Ford Driving Skills for Life teaches newly-licensed teens the necessary skills for safe driving beyond what they learn in standard driver education programs.
“Inexperience is the leading cause of crashes in young drivers, and this program delivers the key skill sets that will increase their knowledge, confidence and, ultimately, their safety,” said Sue Cischke, group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. “Ford is passionate about helping young drivers learn the rules of the road, better manage distractions behind the wheel and help make America’s roads safer for all of us.”
Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers. Specifically, the majority of these crashes are attributed to inexperience in four key skills: Distractions, Vehicle Handling, Space Management and Speed Management—all areas of concentration in the Ford DSFL program.
In Maine, motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for children and youth, ages 1 to 24. Younger Maine drivers are more likely to be involved in crashes directly related to risk taking behaviors such as speeding and alcohol use. Teen fatality rates in Maine are highest (on a fatality per estimated vehicle miles traveled basis) during the hours of 10 PM to 5 AM. Younger Maine drivers are more likely to be involved in crashes resulting from distracted driving.
Ford DSFL comes to Maine just two weeks before the state’s new anti-texting law takes effect on September 28. The Ford Fund has made a significant investment in teen driver safety in Maine. In addition to bringing DSFL to the state, the Ford Fund awarded the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety a $20,000 grant through the GHSA. One of only five such grants nationwide, it was used to purchase two computerized driving simulators, which will be made available to students throughout the day of their DSFL training.
"The Maine Bureau of Highway Safety is eager to help young drivers understand the responsibilities that come with a driver's license,” said Lauren Stewart, Director of the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety. “We know it's fun to get in the car with a group of friends and head for the beach, a basketball game, or a party. But distracted or impaired driving, excessive speed, or not knowing how to handle a skid can turn a fun time tragic in a matter of seconds. Ford's Driving Skills for Life program is one more way we can educate young drivers against those dangers."
Patrick Moody, Director of Public Affairs for AAA of Northern New England praised the Ford DSFL program. "AAA is committed to driver safety, especially for young, inexperienced drivers who may not yet realize the dangers of distracted or impaired driving. The Ford Driving Skills for Life program is a natural partnership for us.”
Lauren Stewart, Director Maine Bureau of Highway Safety
AAA Northern New England
Scarborough Police Department
Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department
7:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Scarborough High School
259 US Rte. 1
Thursday, September 15, 2011
7:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Bonny Eagle High School
700 Saco Road, Standish
Media must check in at the school front office upon arrival. Ford DSFL will accommodate requests to ride in a training vehicle with the drivers and students.
About Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services
Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community partners to advance driving safety, education and American heritage and community life. The Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 60 years with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. The award-winning Ford Driving Skills for Life program teaches new drivers through a variety of hands-on and interactive methods. Innovation in education is encouraged through national programs that enhance high school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants. Through the Ford Volunteer Corps, more than 20,000 Ford employees and retirees work on projects that better their communities in dozens of countries. For more information, visit www.community.ford.com