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Ford Driving Skills for Life logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Bishop Hendricken High School Receives Teen Driver Safety Investment from Ford Motor Company Fund

Warwick, RI, Sept. 26, 2011—Ford Motor Company is bringing its national, award-winning teen safe driving program, Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL), to Bishop Hendricken on September 28th.

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 Rhode Island, Bishop Hendricken has been selected to participate in the program.

According to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation’s (RIDOT) Office on Highway Safety, drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 years old account for only about 5% of Rhode Island drivers. Yet in 2009, they accounted for 17% of all fatal auto accidents.  They also are more likely to be involved in severe crashes—those involving personal injury or death.  In Rhode Island, the injury rate for younger drivers is substantially 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.

After an assembly featuring Colonel Steven O’Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and race car driver Mike Speck, the students at Bishop Hendricken 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 young people.  Often, that excitement overshadows the reality that driving a car takes concentration and skill.  Programs like Ford's Driving Skills for Life gives them a hands-on experience that shows them the importance of driver safety and responsibility," said Colonel Steven O’Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police.

“Bishop Hendricken is pleased to team up with Ford Motor Company in delivering this very important message about safety and driving to our students,” said Jay Brennan, Principal of Bishop Hendricken.  “We are extremely excited to have the Ford team visit us on September 28th to talk about driving safety and responsibility.”

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, 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. 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 Rhode Island, motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for children and youth, ages 5 to 24.  Younger Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island are highest (on a fatality per estimated vehicle miles traveled basis) during the hours of 10 PM to 4 AM.  Younger Rhode Island drivers are more likely to be involved in crashes resulting from distracted driving.

“The Rhode Island Department of Transportation’s (RIDOT) Office on Highway Safety helps young drivers understand the responsibilities that come with a driver’s license,” said Michael P. Lewis, RIDOT’s Director. “We know it’s fun to get in a car with a group of friends and head for the beach or the mall, but distracted or impaired driving can turn a fun time tragic in seconds. Ford’s Driving Skills for Life program is one more way we can educate young drivers.”

Who: Colonel Steven O’Donnell (8:30-9:15)
Despina Metakos, RIDOT Office on Highway Safety
Representatives from Ford Driving Skills for Life
What: Ford Driving Skills for Life
When/Where:

September 28, 2011
8:30 a.m. – 2:35 p.m.

Bishop Hendricken
2615 Warwick Avenue
Warwick, RI

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.

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: Cara Cromwell
401-440-0090
Cara.Cromwell@cox.net