GHSA, Ford Fund Provide Support for Safe Teen Mobility in Economically Disadvantaged Areas

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News Releases

April 25, 2024

CONTACT: Adam Snider (GHSA), 202-580-7930, 202-365-8971 (after hours)
                   RoNeisha Mullen (Ford), 248-234-1365

Organizations provide $100,000 in grants to Montana and the District of Columbia, celebrate third decade of free, hands-on novice driver training program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Ford Motor Company, are building upon a decades-long focus on youth traffic safety by awarding a total of $100,000 in grants to advance access to safe mobility for teens in underserved areas, even if a car isn’t part of their journey. Additionally, the Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) program, which provides free, advanced, hands-on driver education, is returning for a 21st year in 2024 with an expanded focus on protecting pedestrians, bicyclists, scooter riders and others outside the vehicle.

Young drivers are the most dangerous age group on the road due to inexperience and immaturity, which puts everyone at risk. Crash and fatality rates for young drivers have improved considerably over the past two decades, according to a GHSA data analysis. Fatal crashes involving a young driver fell 38% between 2002 and 2021 while they increased nearly 8% for drivers 21 and older. Despite these safety gains, drivers under 21 years of age remain four times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than their older counterparts. It’s critical to build on that momentum in youth driver safety and support a variety of ways for young people to get around safely with or without a car.

“Today’s teens already face enough difficulties and obstacles in their day-to-day lives. Staying safe on the road shouldn’t have to be one of their daily challenges,” said GHSA Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Adkins. “Through our more than two decades-long partnership with Ford Fund, GHSA is helping provide youth in underserved areas access to safe transportation options no matter which mode they use.”

The grants will enable two states to support, implement and evaluate the following safe mobility programs:

  • The Montana Department of Transportation, in collaboration with Montana’s Office of Public Instruction, is launching a program to enhance driver education for Tribal youth. The program includes hands-on driver training workshops focused on Native American teens, many of whom are unable to access formal instruction. The state will also provide five scholarships of $5,000 each to help teachers in Native American communities become driver education instructors. This will help address a shortage of driving instructors in Tribal areas and ensure the long-term viability of the program.
  • Washington, D.C.’s District Highway Safety Office is prioritizing pedestrian and bicycle safety outreach and education for the unhoused community, which includes transient populations comprised of migrant families, residents experiencing homelessness and others. This program will focus on three core areas: training for law enforcement and other government employees, who often have contact with unhoused people; community engagement, including distributing “safety kits” to unhoused individuals; and informing drivers of their role in keeping unhoused people safe.

Additionally, the DSFL program is celebrating its 21st year with a ten-city, U.S. tour that kicked off this month. DSFL pairs newly licensed or permitted drivers with professional driving instructors for hands-on driver training on a closed course. Developed by Ford Fund, GHSA and a panel of safety experts, the program addresses critical factors that influence crashes, including vehicle handling, hazard recognition, speed and space management, sharing the road with pedestrians and bicyclists, and distracted and impaired driving.

New this year, DSFL now includes a “Safety in Mobility” module that places an extra emphasis on pedestrian and cyclist education. This new module includes lessons about electric scooter safety and the “Dutch reach,” a technique for drivers that aims to stop cyclists and pedestrians from being hit by opening car doors. It also shows teens how to provide a safe passing distance between their vehicle and pedestrians and bicyclists.

“Every person should be free to move and pursue their dreams, and so for us at Ford Fund, funding programs like Driving Skills for Life helps ensure drivers, pedestrians and cyclists are sharing the road safely and responsibly,” said Joe Provenzano, Mobility Director at Ford Fund. “We’re excited to expand our efforts to promote accessible, affordable, reliable and safe transportation, creating safer journeys for people – whether they're walking, driving, cycling, scooting or even walking to or from public transit.”

Since 2003, Ford Motor Company Fund has invested more than $60 million in the Ford Driving Skills for Life program, a long-standing contribution to the goal of zero traffic deaths on U.S. roads. Giving teens the tools and training they need to make better decisions behind the wheel creates safer roadway conditions for everyone, regardless of whether a motor vehicle is part of their mobility journey. For more information and updates on upcoming tour locations, visit

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About GHSA

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. Visit for more information or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Ford Motor Company Fund

As the global philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, Ford Fund focuses on providing access to essential services, education for the future of work and entrepreneurship opportunities for under-resourced and underrepresented communities. Ford Fund’s partnerships and programming are designed to be responsive to unique community needs, ensuring people have equitable opportunities to move forward. Harnessing Ford’s scale, resources and mobility expertise, Ford Fund drives meaningful impact through grantmaking, Ford Community Centers and employee volunteerism. For more information, visit or join us at @FordFund on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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