Ford and Governors Highway Safety Association to Bring Driving Skills for Life Program to Washington State for First Time

Program to teach more than 400 teens hands-on safety training to address key teen crash problems -- More than 400 Seattle area teens are invited to participate in the Ford Driving Skills for Life Ride and Drive hands-on driving safety event.  Program is one of the only in the nation with a comp

Ford and Governors Highway Safety Association to Bring Driving Skills for Life Program to Washington State for First Time

Program to teach more than 400 teens hands-on safety training to address key teen crash problems

-- More than 400 Seattle area teens are invited to participate in the Ford Driving Skills for Life Ride and Drive hands-on driving safety event.  Program is one of the only in the nation with a comprehensive series of exercises that allow teens to learn firsthand about driving hazards from a professional driver

-- Teens learn skills in the four key areas that contribute to over 60 percent of all teen crashes: distracted driving/hazard recognition, vehicle handling, space management and speed control

-- Enrollment is open to teens with a valid drivers licenses or learners permit. Parents are encouraged to attend as well. Register at www.drivingskillsforlife.com

-- Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for persons ages 15 to 20

AUBURN, Wash., Aug. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In the midst of growing national awareness about teen driving, Ford Motor Company Fund and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) are bringing its Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL) Ride and Drive teen safe driving event to more than 400 Seattle area teen drivers.  This is the first time the program has been held in the State of Washington.

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During the FREE Ford DSFL program, teen drivers will learn advanced safe-driving skills from some of the nation's top professional driving instructors in hands-on driving modules. The course will take teens through the dangerous realities of reckless driving, speeding, maneuvering around obstacles in the road, skid control, recovery and in-car hazards.  This specially equipped course and vehicles will let the teen drivers experience the worst the road has to offer in a controlled and safe environment.

Enrollment is open to teens with a valid drivers licenses or learners permit. Parents are encouraged to attend with their teen as well. Registration is available at www.drivingskillsforlife.com under the "News and Events" section.

"It is our privilege to provide life-saving driving skills to more than 400 teens in Washington," said Jim Graham, Community Relations Manager for the Ford Fund. "Ford Driving Skills for Life has a proven track record in helping to combat the alarming number of teen crashes and fatalities throughout the United States."

Unsafe teen driving is a serious problem.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for persons ages 15 to 20.  The State of Washington has seen this national epidemic unfold first-hand with 353 teen (age 13-19) deaths on Washington roads between 2004 and 2008.  The Washington Traffic Safety Commission reports 369 fatal crashes involved a teen driver (13-19) during the same period. Teen drivers, mile to mile, are in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers, with nearly 6,000 teens dying annually in traffic crashes. The under-twenty age group had the highest proportion of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes.

"According to the Centers for Disease Control, for people ages four to 44 the leading cause of death in Washington and across the county is traffic crashes," said Lowell Porter, Director of the Traffic Safety Commission and Vice Chair of the Governor's Highway Safety Association. "One element in our multifaceted approach to changing this devastating trend is skills training for young drivers."

About Ford Driving Skills for Life

Ford Driving Skills for Life was created in 2003 in partnership with the Governors Highway Safety Association.  It is one of the nation's most comprehensive teen driver safety programs.  In addition to hands-on events such as the event being held in Auburn, WA, it consists of learning tools on an interactive Web site (www.drivingskillsforlife.com) that include a learning module, quizzes, car care videos, driving tip videos, interactive games and an enhanced eco-driving curriculum. Free educator packets are available for students and parents, as well as teachers and community programs.   Additionally, individual programs can be created to meet the specific needs of communities and schools.

About Ford Motor Company and Community Services:

Established in 1949, and made possible by funding from Ford Motor Company, the Ford Motor Company Fund strengthens communities with programs that foster innovative education, driving, and quality of life in our communities.  National programs include Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies, which provides high school students with academically rigorous 21st century learning experiences, and Ford Driving Skills for Life – a teen-focused auto safety initiative.  The Ford Volunteer Corps, established in 2005, continues Ford's legacy of caring worldwide.  Through the Volunteer Corps, Ford employees and retirees participate in a wide range of volunteer projects in their communities. For more information on programs made possible by the Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services, visit www.community.ford.com.  

About the Washington Traffic Safety Commission

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) was started in 1967 to promote traffic safety through behavioral change in drivers. Its vision is to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries to zero by 2030 by following Target Zero: The Plan, available at www.targetzero.com.  WTSC coordinates Washington's traffic safety efforts by working with communities and tribes to identify and help resolve traffic safety issues; gathering, analyzing and reporting data on traffic deaths in Washington; distributing state and federal traffic safety funds; and conducting public education campaigns. For additional information about the WTSC, visit www.wtsc.wa.gov.

About the 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, Puerto Rico and the Indian Nation.  GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy and enhance program management.  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.

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