More than 1,000 teen drivers and their parents received free hands-on advanced driver training as part of Ford Driving Skills for Life in Phoenix Nov. 8-12 at the Phoenix Fire Training Academy. This year marks the 14th national tour and the 10th year the program has returned to Phoenix to train permitted and newly licensed teen drivers.
Across the U.S., motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers. The award-winning program helps new drivers stay safe behind the wheel by capturing teen and parent interest with free hands-on driving clinics that pair newly licensed drivers with professional driving instructors.
Beyond driver’s education training, the program focuses on the issues and obstacles drivers face that cause crashes, including vehicle handling, hazard recognition, speed and space management, and distracted and impaired driving. A key part of the instruction focuses on training newly licensed drivers to make better driving decisions and features Ford’s drugged and drunk driving suits to warn about the dangers of impaired and distracted driving.
“We are excited to be back in Phoenix with our global award-winning program,” said James Graham, global manager, Ford Driving Skills for Life. “Our goal is to help reduce the number of crashes and fatalities through real-world training and teaching improved decision-making skills. Partnering with our Arizona Ford dealers and the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, we believe we are making a substantial contribution to safer driving for local students and parents in the Phoenix metro area.”
According to preliminary data from the Arizona Department of Transportation, nearly 100 young drivers ages 15-24 were killed in motor vehicle crashes in Arizona in 2016.
“Mission Not Accomplished: Teen Safe Driving, the Next Chapter,” a Governors Highway Safety Association report released last year, shows that despite progress reducing teen driving deaths from 2005 to 2014, teen drivers are still 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than adults 35-40. Special emphasis for 2017 includes instruction for drivers ages 18-20, who are involved in more fatal crashes than younger teens.
In addition to teens from all across the Valley, students from Perry High School in the Chandler Unified School District and the East Valley Institute of Technology in Mesa attended as part of a school field trip.
“The distracted driving course really opened up my eyes to how dangerous texting while driving can be,” said Taylor Pennington, a 16-year-old high school student in Chandler. “And the vehicle handling course with the Mustangs allowed me to experience what it’s like to lose control of a vehicle so that I’m better prepared if that situation ever happens in real life.”
For more information on the Ford Driving Skills for Life program, visit drivingskillsforlife.com. The website allows parents to get notified about future training events in the Phoenix area and also offers online driver training curriculum as part of the Academy.