FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 7, 2007
Safety Public Affairs
Ford Motor Company
Marketing & Communications
Manager, Marketing Communications
Ford Motor Company Fund, KDKA-TV Pittsburgh, Westfield Insurance Launch Program to Help Teens Learn Safe Driving Skills
DEARBORN, Mich.—Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, KDKA-TV, the CBS affiliate in Pittsburgh, and Westfield Insurance, a regional company headquartered in Westfield Center, Ohio, have launched a partnership to assist young drivers in the Pittsburgh area and western Pennsylvania. The yearlong program, Taking the Lead, is based on Ford’s Driving Skills for Life program. Also participating will be KDKA-TV sister station WPCW-TV, a CW affiliate.
Developed in 2003 by Ford Motor Company, Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and a panel of safety experts, Driving Skills for Life aims to help newly licensed drivers develop skills necessary for safe driving beyond what they learn in traditional driver education programs. The Pittsburgh partnership will include on-air messaging, special programming, a free driving event for local teens with professional instructors, and specialized information on-line at www.kdka.com, http://wpcwtv.com, www.westfieldinsurance.com, and www.drivingskillsforlife.com.
Vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teenagers in America. Nearly 7,000 teens die annually in automobile accidents in the United States, including 214 in Pennsylvania in 2005, according to the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA). Studies demonstrate that teen crash rates decline considerably as young drivers gain experience behind the wheel. Driving Skills for Life – managed by Ford Motor Company Fund – helps young drivers improve their skills in four key areas that are critical factors in more than 60 percent of teen vehicle crashes:
- Hazard Recognition
- Vehicle Handling
- Space Management
- Speed Management
Ford is delighted to promote safe driving among teens in the Pittsburgh area and throughout western Pennsylvania,” said Jim Graham, Community Relations Manager for Ford Motor Company Fund. “Taking the Lead underscores the commitment of the local community to develop the critical skills necessary to reduce teen-related auto accidents. We look forward to a very successful partnership with KDKA and Westfield Insurance.”
“KDKA is extremely proud to partner with Ford Motor Company Fund and Westfield Insurance in this very important teen driving effort,” said Chris Pike, Vice-President/General Manager KDKA-TV. “Improving the safe driving skills of Pittsburgh-area teens will hopefully help these drivers and their families avoid the tragic consequences that are too often experienced. This project fits with our mission of addressing issues of deep concern to our community.”
Added Roger McManus, President of Westfield Insurance: “Safe driving is everyone’s responsibility. We see a growing need for collaboration between parents, law enforcement, advocacy organizations and corporate partners. We’re proud to be part of this diverse program for young drivers.”
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Driving Skills for Life provides effective learning tools, including the comprehensive interactive Web site that rewards students for taking the initiative to learn safe driving techniques. Several new learning modules have been introduced in 2007, including a car care module designed to assist teens who encounter vehicle problems on the road. In addition, educator materials are available at no charge in both English and Spanish, allowing instruction of the program in school or community settings.
Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services is committed to creating opportunities that promote corporate citizenship, philanthropy, volunteerism and cultural diversity for those who live in the communities where Ford does business. Established in 1949 and made possible by Ford Motor Company profits, Ford Motor Company Fund supports initiatives and institutions that foster innovative education, auto-related safety, and American heritage and legacy. National programs include Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies, which provides high school students with academically rigorous 21st century learning experiences, and 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, salaried employees, union members, retirees and their families participate in a wide range of volunteer projects in their communities. For more information on programs made possible by Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services, visit www.ford.com.
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)® is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. 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.
KDKA-TV, a CBS-owned and operated station, is committed to improving the quality of life in the region we serve. The station has a long history of community involvement including a 53-year tradition of supporting Pittsburgh’s Children’s Hospital with an annual telethon and a 25-year tradition of airing the annual KD Turkey Drive in support of Pittsburgh’s Food Bank.
In business for nearly 160 years, Westfield Insurance provides commercial and personal insurance and surety services to customers in 28 states. Westfield markets its products through more than 1,200 leading independent insurance agencies and is one of the country’s largest property and casualty insurers. Westfield Group provides banking through Westfield BankSM and agency support through Westfield Services, Inc. Westfield has over $3.4 billion in assets and holds an “A (Excellent)” rating from A.M. Best, a leading insurance financial rating agency. The company has more than 2,500 employees throughout its operating states.