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Ford Driving Skills for Life logo and Kentucky Office of Highway Safety logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2011

Contacts: Megan Whatman
Ford Motor Company
216.832.9303
mwhatman@sppgrp.com
Erin Eggen
Kentucky Office of Highway Safety
502.564.1438
erin.eggen@ky.gov
Jani Davis
Westfield Insurance
330.887.6150
janidavis@westfieldgrp.com

 

Ford and GHSA Bring Driving Skills For Life To Kentucky; Teens Will Learn To Handle Causes Of Most Teen Crashes

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—In the midst of growing national awareness about distracted driving, Ford Motor Company Fund is partnering with the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety and Governors Highway Safety Association to bring the Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL) Ride and Drive teen safe driving event to Louisville and more than 400 Kentucky teen drivers. This is the first time the free program has been held in Kentucky.

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

From 2007 through 2011, 339 Kentucky teens died in motor vehicle crashes and more than (56%) were the driver of the vehicle, according to the most recent data. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teens ages 15 and over. Teen drivers, mile to mile, are in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers, with about 3,000 teens aged 15-19 killed each year in traffic crashes. The under-twenty age group also had the highest proportion of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes.

"Ford is committed to the safety of all our drivers, especially teen drivers who are involved in more fatal traffic crashes than any other group," said Jim Graham, manager, Ford Driving Skills for Life. "Ford Driving Skills for Life grew out of that commitment."

“Highway safety professionals often speak of the “Four E’s” of Highway Safety: Engineering, Enforcement, Education, and Emergency Response,” said Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) Director Boyd Sigler. “However, nothing can be accomplished without the fifth E – Everyone. Highway safety is a shared responsibility and we are pleased to partner with Ford to help educate young drivers on safe driving habits.”

"Westfield Insurance believes that helping to avoid losses is as important as being there to help after a loss," says Ed Largent, president and leader of Westfield Insurance. "That's why we're so proud to have partnered with Ford since 2007 to bring Ride & Drives to communities we serve."

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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 Louisville, it features an interactive Web site (www.drivingskillsforlife.com) with learning modules, quizzes, car care and driving tip videos, interactive games and an eco-driving curriculum. Free educator packets are available for students and parents, as well as teachers and community programs. Individual programs can be created to meet the specific needs of communities and schools.

About Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services
Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community partners to advance driving safety, education and American heritage and community life. The Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 60 years with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. The award-winning Ford Driving Skills for Life program teaches new drivers through a variety of hands-on and interactive methods. Innovation in education is encouraged through national programs that enhance high school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants. Through the Ford Volunteer Corps, more than 27,000 Ford employees and retirees each year work on projects that better their communities in dozens of countries. For more information, visit www.community.ford.com.

About the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety
The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) is a state government agency housed within the Transportation Cabinet. The KOHS is responsible for promoting national highway safety initiatives, developing the Strategic Highway Safety Plan and issuing federally-funded grants to the state’s various highway safety partners. It also conducts educational programs in schools and communities and aids law enforcement with speed radar units and target enforcement area blitzes. Contact the KOHS at 1-888-374-8768 or http://highwaysafety.ky.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 and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. 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.

About Westfield Insurance
In business for more than 163 years, Westfield Insurance provides commercial and personal insurance in 21 states and surety services to customers in 31 states.  Westfield is one of the nation’s 50 largest property and casualty insurance groups, represented by a network of over 1,100 independent insurance agencies. Westfield puts words into actions by supporting nonprofit organizations and choosing sponsorships that make a difference in the communities where we work and live.  These efforts help us achieve business success in ways that honor our values and respect for people.  Learn more about Westfield Insurance at www.westfieldinsurance.com.