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GHSA News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Windham and Sanborn Regional High Schools Receive Teen Driver Safety Investment from Ford Motor Company Fund

Windham and Kingston, NH, Sept. 14, 2011—Ford Motor Company is bringing its national, award-winning teen safe driving program, Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL), to Windham High School and Sanborn Regional High School on September 21 and 22 respectively.

In response to growing awareness about teen fatalities and driver distraction, the Ford Motor Company Fund, along with the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), announced in February a $1,000,000 expansion of Ford DSFL, with a 30-city national tour. The expansion added a new component to Ford DSFL’s hands-on programs and web-based training. In New Hampshire, Windham High School and Sanborn Regional High School were selected to participate in the program.

According to the New Hampshire Highway Safety Agency, drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 years old account for only 13.7% of New Hampshire drivers, yet they account for 22.2% of all fatal auto accidents in 2010. They also are more likely to be involved in severe crashes—those involving personal injury or death. In New Hampshire, the injury rate for younger drivers is 3.6 times higher than that for drivers older than 24. There is a direct relationship between the age of the driver and the risk of a crash or injury.

The students at Windham and Sanborn Regional High Schools will participate in hands-on training modules that will equip each student with the fundamental skills necessary for safe driving.

"Getting a driver's license, and the freedom that comes with it is an exciting milestone for our students,” said Tom Murphy, Windham High School principal. “Often, that excitement overshadows the reality that driving a car takes concentration and skill. Ford's Driving Skills for Life gives them a hands-on experience that shows them the importance of driver safety and responsibility.”

“Sanborn Regional High School is pleased to team up with Ford Motor Company in delivering this very important message about safety and driving to our students,” said Principal Brian Stack. “We are extremely excited to have the Ford team visit us next week to talk about driving safety and responsibility. It is an important message that needs to be shared with our students.”

Established in 2003 by the Ford Motor Company Fund, the Governors Highway Safety Association and a panel of safety experts, Ford Driving Skills for Life teaches newly-licensed teens the necessary skills for safe driving beyond what they learn in standard driver education programs.

“Inexperience is the leading cause of crashes in young drivers, and this program delivers the key skill sets that will increase their knowledge, confidence and, ultimately, their safety,” said Sue Cischke, Ford’s group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. “Ford is passionate about helping young drivers learn the rules of the road, better manage distractions behind the wheel and help make America’s roads safer for all of us.”

Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers throughout the nation. Specifically, the majority of these crashes are attributed to inexperience in four key skills: Distractions, Vehicle Handling, Space Management and Speed Management—all areas of concentration in the Ford DSFL program.

In New Hampshire, motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for children and youth, ages 1 to 24. Younger New Hampshire drivers are more likely to be involved in crashes directly related to risk taking behaviors such as speeding and alcohol use. Teen fatality rates in New Hampshire are highest (on a fatality per estimated vehicle miles traveled basis) during the hours of 3 PM to midnight equating to 65% of all crashes involving a fatality. Younger drivers are involved in 6% of the crashes involving severe injury/fatality.

"The New Hampshire Highway Safety Agency is eager to help young drivers understand the responsibilities that come with a driver's license,” said Peter Thomson, Coordinator of the New Hampshire Highway Safety Agency. “We know that it's fun to get in the car with a group of friends and head for the beach, a basketball game, or a party. But distracted or impaired driving, excessive speed, or not knowing how to handle the vehicle properly can turn a fun time tragic in a matter of seconds. Ford's Driving Skills for Life program is one more way we can educate young drivers against those dangers."

Who: Representatives from Ford Driving Skills for Life
Representatives of NH’s Highway Safety Agency
Local Police Departments
NH Highway Patrol
What: Ford Driving Skills for Life
When/Where:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011
7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Windham High School
64 London Bridge Road
Windham, NH 03079

Thursday, September 22, 2011
7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Sanborn Regional High School
17 Danville Road
Kingston, NH 03848


Media must check in at the school front office upon arrival. Ford DSFL will accommodate requests to ride in a training vehicle with the drivers and students. Please send requests.

Follow at:
www.facebook.com/FordDrivingSkillsForLife
www.drivingskillsforlife.com

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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 20,000 Ford employees and retirees work on projects that better their communities in dozens of countries. For more information, visit www.community.ford.com

Contact: Vanessa LeBlanc
603-475-6351
vanessa@capitoldirect.net