Many of us know a teenager who has been killed in a car accident, and statics explain why. Vehicle crashes are the top killer of teenagers in America, claiming nearly 5,000 lives each year. Additionally, teens account for three times as many fatal accidents as other drivers, according to the U.S. government.
In an effort to reduce teen crashes and fatalities in Michigan, the Ford Motor Company Fund and the Governors Highway Safety Association® are hosting a Ford Driving Skills for Life driving camp. This free, safe-driving event that goes well beyond typical driver education courses will be held at the Ford Michigan Proving Ground in Romeo Aug. 13-14. A sign of the program’s success, it is already overbooked, with more than 400 local teens planning on attending.
Participants will be given instruction on safe-driving techniques from some of the nation’s top professional driving instructors. They’ll also get to practice these techniques in a safe environment. The techniques will focus on four key skill areas: speed management, space management, vehicle handling and hazard recognition. Experts have identified the lack of these skills as the cause of approximately 60 percent of vehicle crashes for newly licensed drivers ages 16 to 19 years old.
In addition to the Ford Driving Skills for Life driving camp, Ford’s new MyKeyTM technology launches this summer to help parents encourage teenagers to drive safely through features that limit a vehicle’s top speed and audio volume, and encourage safety-belt usage.
Ford Driving Skills for Life driving camp 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. Ford’s MyKey feature allows owners to program a key that can limit the vehicle’s top speed and audio volume.
Andrew Sarkisian, part of the brainstorming team behind Ford’s MyKey technology, will participate in a live chat here on theFordStory.com Friday, August 14, to discuss the technology and how he was motivated by teen driving statistics, and by watching his own two teenage daughters.
Ford’s program also engages teens to promote driving safety with other teens, as they are the most influential voice with peers. For example, Ford Driving Skills for Life driving camp provided budgets to participating high school students in Nashville, Tenn., and Dearborn, Mich., for the creation of safe driving campaigns targeted to their classmates. The students made public service announcements, YouTube videos and posters, and hosted school assemblies – all with the aim of reducing dangerous driving behaviors.
Ford Driving Skills for Life driving camp reaches teens beyond the on-hands experience with an interactive Web site (www.drivingskillsforlife.com) that includes 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 for teachers and community programs.