FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2007
Highway Safety Office
Safety Public Affairs
Ford Motor Company
Driving Skills for Life Cruises Into Middle Tennessee With 'Ride-and-Drive' for Teens
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Vehicle crashes remain the number one killer of teenagers in America, including 145 in Tennessee in 2005, according to the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To help reduce teen deaths, Ford Motor Company Fund and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) are bringing the national Driving Skills for Life program to the Nashville area with a hands-on "ride-and-drive" event Thursday-Friday, April 19-20, at Manheim's Nashville Auto Auction in Mt. Juliet.
More than 300 students from high schools across four Tennessee counties will hone their driving skills on challenging road courses under the supervision of a team of professional instructors. More than 300 teens from high schools in Davidson, Rutherford, Sumner and Wilson counties will be participating in the event. Morning sessions for groups of 75 begin at 8:30 a.m. and run to 12:30 p.m., and afternoon sessions are from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. The event will be held rain or shine.
Nearly 7,000 teens die annually in automobile crashes in the United States. Studies demonstrate that crash rates decline considerably as young drivers gain experience behind the wheel. Driving Skills for Life 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 committed to its ongoing efforts to educate people about all aspects of safe driving," said Jim Vella, president of Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company. "We look forward to championing those communities who support Ford's innovative auto-safety programs, including our teen-focused program, Driving Skills for Life."
Added Kendell Poole, Director, Tennessee Governor's Highway Safety Office: "This is an unbelievable opportunity for our high school students to have access to a program of this caliber. We are excited about Driving Skills for Life because our teenagers of today are our adult drivers of tomorrow. Creating good habits now will equip them to endure the challenges of the road in future years."
Also supporting the event is Westfield Insurance, whose president, Roger McManus, said: "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."
Driving Skills for Life provides effective learning tools, including a comprehensive interactive Web site, www.drivingskillsforlife.com that rewards students for taking the initiative to learn safe driving techniques. Several new learning modules are being introduced in 2007, including a car-care module designed to assist teens that encounter vehicle problems on the road. In addition, educator materials are available at no charge in English and Spanish, allowing instruction of the program in school or community settings.
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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.