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Summer 2009 | Vol. 12 | No. 2
Ford Driving Skills for Life Summer Camp Works to Reduce Teen Crashes During Deadly Time of the Year
For hundreds of teens this June in Minnesota, summer camp wasn’t about canoes and campfires—but safe driving.
These groups of teens took part in a unique summer camp aimed at helping them stay safe when they step behind the wheel of a car. The summer season from Memorial Day to Labor Day marks the deadliest period for teen drivers, with more teens killed on the road during this time of the year than any other.
In response to these shocking statistics, Ford Driving Skills for Life initiated a summer camp program for teen drivers in 2006. The Ford Driving Skills for Life Summer Camp, held through a partnership with GHSA, hopes to reduce these summertime deaths.
This year’s Ford Driving Skills for Life Summer Camp was held June 26-28 in St. Paul, Minnesota, where teen drivers are involved in one out of four accidents, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Traffic accidents are the leading cause of teen death in Minnesota—more than the next four causes combined.
During the free camp, which offers hands-on instruction for both parents and newly licensed teens, teen drivers are put through a series of driving situations. The exercises focus on four key areas that are critical factors in more than 60 percent of teen vehicle crashes: hazard recognition, vehicle handling, speed management and space management.
More than 430 teen drivers and parents attended this year’s Ford DSFL Summer Camp, which was also hosted by Westfield Insurance and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
“This event is important because it gives new teen drivers hands-on experience,” said Cheri Marti, director of the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety and member of GHSA’s Executive Board. “The program encourages parents to stay involved in continuing to train and monitor their teen drivers.”
A camp highlight was a visit from Minnesota House Representative Kim Norton (DFL—Rochester). Representative Norton is a health and safety advocate and author of the graduated drivers license bill in the Minnesota legislature which puts limitations on hours of vehicle operation and the number of passengers teens can carry for the first year of the license. Representative Norton spoke to parents and students about the importance of giving teen drivers more time behind the wheel.