The award-winning Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL) helps teens build skills in key areas - vehicle handling, hazard recognition and speed and space management. The program features hands-on driving events with enhanced safety protocols, and a website with resources for teens and their parents.
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. Driving Skills for Life provides free, advanced, hands-on driver education – including sessions on protecting pedestrians, bicyclists and scooter riders – to more than 1.25 million newly licensed teen drivers in all 50 U.S. states and 46 countries worldwide. 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.
The 2023 tour launched in April and is coming to cities across the country this year. For more information and updates on upcoming tour locations, visit drivingskillsforlife.com.
Going on Now: Teen Mobility Safety Grants
The 2022/2023 grants are enabling four states – Missouri, Montana, New York and Oklahoma – to support, implement and evaluate teen-centric safe mobility programs. The programs being funded include:
- The Missouri Department of Transportation is sponsoring driver education training opportunities for teens in foster care to receive the instruction required to obtain a driver’s license under the state’s Graduated Driver License (GDL) law. There are currently 4,578 teens in the Missouri foster care system, and many do not have the resources or support needed to complete novice driver training.
- The Montana Department of Transportation is partnering with the Tribal Community program, “Safe On All Roads” (SOAR), to establish a teen peer-to-peer program that will produce distracted driving messaging campaigns for Native American teens. The statewide campaign is a call to action to Montana’s Tribal Communities, providing funding for local SOAR Coordinators to develop traffic safety and public outreach in their respective communities.
- The New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee is partnering with Teen Driving Solutions to bring hands-on driver education opportunities to teens from communities throughout the state in coordination with the Mohawk Valley Refugee Center and SADD. Teen Driving Solutions is a two-day novice driving program that helps teens and their parents understand driving fundamentals such as sound judgement, good decision-making and physical control of any vehicle in real-life road and traffic conditions.
- The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO) is focusing its efforts on rural roads, which account for the greatest number of driving fatalities among the state’s teens. OHSO is partnering with Oklahoma Challenge (OK Challenge) and Work Zone Safe to provide resources to teen leaders and advisors from the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America and 4-H programs.
Check out what it's like to attend a Ford DSFL teen driver safety training!
Other Publications and Projects
The analysis for GHSA found that from 2015 to 2019, teen drivers and passengers (16-19 years of age) had a greater proportion of speeding-related fatalities (43%) than all other age groups (30%). During this five-year period, 4,930 teen drivers and passengers died in speeding-related crashes. It also sheds light on what we know about speeding-related fatal crashes involving teens – the driver is more likely to be male, have run off the road or rolled the vehicle and be unbuckled.
This report examines the differences in fatal crashes between older and younger teens, as well as by gender, and provides a set of 11 policy and best practice recommendations for states to implement. The data showed that improvements in teen-involved fatal crash rates have not been as dramatic for older teens (ages 18-20) as compared to their younger counterparts (ages 15-17), and teen drivers were still 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a crash than adults.
This publication examines adults — other than parents — who have the opportunity to influence teen decision-making about driving and showcases several safe driving initiatives. It opens with a primer to help states and practitioners understand why and how to successfully partner with these other adult influencers. It also discusses what potential adult influencers need to know about teen safe driving to ensure they understand the extent and nature of the problem and become champions.
State Grant Showcases
The Tennessee Highway Safety Office was awarded a grant from Ford Driving Skills for Life & GHSA to educate and promote safe teen driving behavior through a series of in-person events in conjunction with SADD, Alliance Marketing & State Farm to connect schools with teen traffic safety activities.
To improve teen driver education programs, the Utah Highway Safety Office (UHSO) was awarded grant funding by Ford Driving Skills for Life and GHSA to address the dangers and consequences of speeding through pre-driver education initiatives.
As vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for teen drivers, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) was provided a grant from Ford Driving Skill for Life and GHSA to develop a state-specific Teen Driver Parental Toolkit focused on teens and speeding.
Ford Driving Skills for Life and GHSA provided a grant to the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) to educate teens about the importance of safe driving by implementing the Kentucky-specific Checkpoints™ program.
Through a grant from Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL) and GHSA, the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) held a speed-focused traffic safety fair to show high school students how speeding can put themselves, their passengers and everyone on the road in danger.