Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford, and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) are extending their 18-year commitment to improving teen driving skills with the return of their award-winning Ford Driving Skills for Life program. An eight-city tour featuring free, hands-on training clinics for newly licensed teen drivers stops at the Phoenix Fire Training Academy, 2425 W. Lower Buckeye Road, Nov. 10-14, 2021.
Vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for teen drivers and data from GHSA and Ford Fund’s Teens & Speeding: Breaking the Deadly Cycle report released earlier this year found that more than 2,000 teen vehicle occupant deaths occur each year. When looking at data from fatal motor vehicles crashes between 2015-2019, 43% of teen driver and passenger fatalities inv olved speeding. By comparison, 30% of fatalities involving drivers and passengers ages 20+ were speeding-related.
Additionally, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System, traffic deaths are estimated to have reached a 13-year high in 2020, despite a decline in driving during the COVID-19 pandemic. A NHTSA report estimates that last year, 38,680 people were killed on U.S. roadways in 2020 – the highest number since 2007 and an increase of 7.2% from 2019.
Following a 15-month pause in hands-on training due to COVID-19, Ford Driving Skills for Life is bringing its safe-driving training sessions to Phoenix, following tour stops in Anaheim, Oceanside and Sacramento, Calif., Atlanta, Houston and Dallas, and Nashville. Newly licensed drivers or teens who hold a valid learner’s permit can participate. Parents/guardians are encouraged to participate with their teen(s), given the significant role they play in shaping their child’s driving habits. Parents can register their teen(s) for a free training session by visiting drivingskillsforlife.comclicking on Training and going to Hands-on Training. There is also an option to Get Notified for future sessions.
“Despite the pandemic and pause in our hands-on training for more than a year, the Driving Skills for Life team continued working to improve driving safety by offering virtual instructional activities and launching a new ‘Daily Drive’ podcast,” said Jim Graham, manager, Ford Motor Company Fund. “However, nothing can replace in-person, behind-the-wheel training, and we are pleased to safely be resuming our hands-on training clinics.”
Now in its 18th year, Ford Driving Skills for Life pairs newly licensed drivers with professional driving instructors for next-level instruction. Developed by Ford Fund, GHSA and a panel of safety experts, the program addresses issues and critical factors that influence crashes, including vehicle handling, hazard recognition, speed and space management, distracted driving and impaired driving. The hands-on training clinics focus on necessary skills for safe driving beyond what is learned in traditional driver education courses and is being conducted in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in Arizona.
According to NHTSA, traffic crashes are a leading cause of death for teens 15 to 18 years old. In 2019, 2,042 people were killed in crashes involving a teen driver (ages 15 to 18). In Arizona, 487 young drivers (ages 15-20) were involved in fatal crashes over the past five years (2015-2019) according to NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).
Since 2003, Ford Fund has invested more than $60 million in its Ford Driving Skills for Life program and provided free, advanced driver education to more than 1.25 million newly licensed teen drivers in all 50 U.S. states and 46 countries worldwide. For more information and updates on tour locations as well as COVID-19 safety protocols, visit drivingskillsforlife.com.