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Ford Driving Skills for Life Trains Teen Drivers to Avoid Tragedy during Impending Prom and Graduation Season

DEARBORN, Mich., April 10, 2012 -- As prom and graduation season approaches, Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) is reaching out with programs designed to address the increase in life-endangering risks that teen drivers face on the road.

"This a time of year when many teens request, and parents provide, expanded driving privileges," said Jim Graham, manager, Ford Driving Skills for Life. "Unfortunately, safety can take a back seat to the excitement associated with the many celebrations around prom and graduation."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic crashes are the leading cause of death among ages 15 to 20. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reported a slight upward trend in teen traffic fatalities during the first six months of 2011, which is the most recent data available.

Teen drivers, mile to mile, are in three times as many fatal crashes as other drivers, claiming the lives of nearly 3,000 teens each year. The under-20 age group also has the highest proportion of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes.

During April, Ford Driving Skills for Life will provide more than 1,000 teens with advanced safe-driving skills from some of the nation's top professional driving instructors in free, hands-on driving modules. Ford DSFL is visiting high schools in Spokane and Washington's Tri-Cities with a full day of multifaceted activities to build skills in four key areas: driver distraction, speed/space management, vehicle handling and hazard recognition.

Ford DSFL also is teaming up with state officials in Illinois to award high school teams that have created winning safety education campaigns the opportunity to learn new skills from professional drivers on a specially equipped course that lets them experience the worst the road has to offer, within a controlled and safe environment.

"Driving is a privilege, not a right, and parents need to set certain limits to ensure their teens stay safe," added Barbara Harsha, GHSA executive director. "We recommend that parents talk with their teen drivers and together establish rules, including limits for the number of passengers, nighttime driving limits and a commitment not to text and drive. Every state has graduated license requirements and it is critical, especially during this season, that teens and parents are aware of and committed to follow these provisions."

Also this month, Ford DSFL will award $100,000 in grants to GHSA members to conduct teen driving initiatives incorporating the award-winning Ford DSFLprogram. Highway safety agencies in Minnesota, New York, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin each will receive $20,000.

Developed with the Governors Highway Safety Association, Ford Driving Skills for Life is recognized as the nation's most comprehensive driving skills program, with free professional driver instruction, state grants, free materials for parents and educators and a Web-based curriculum that includes "The Academy" on www.drivingskillsforlife.com. Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) has trained more than 500,000 new drivers through free online and professional hands-on driver instruction.

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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 community life. For more than 60 years, Ford Motor Company Fund has operated 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 25,000 Ford employees and dealers work on projects each year that better their communities in more than 40 countries. For more information, visit www.community.ford.com.

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. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.

Contact: Della Dipietro, Ford
313.720.8095
ddipietr@ford.com
Jonathan Adkins, GHSA
202.789.0942
jadkins@ghsa.org