Teen drivers are the focus of a free, three-day ‘Driving Skills for Life' event this weekend at Dulles International Airport sponsored by Ford Motor Company, the Ford Fund, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the airport.
Two session are planned each day from Oct. 11-13, the first beginning an 8 a.m. and the second at noon. During each session 100 Driver Education students from the area will participate in a 20-minute classroom presentation, followed by in-car instruction with a professional on a Ford Driving Skills for Life road course.
According to data from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Highway Safety Office, 34 Virginia teens behind the wheel were killed in car crashes in 2012. While Virginia has seen a reduction in teen driving fatalities from 75 in 2006, more attention is needed to combat this number one killer of teens in the United States.
Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) seeks to address the main cause of car crashes involving teenagers – inexperience.
The program, designed by a panel of safety experts, will focus on building the skills of young drivers in several key areas. The program will demonstrate the dangerous effects of distractions in the car like texting while driving or carrying too many passengers. Teens will also learn how to steer a car safely out of a slide. The exercises will put students in real-world driving scenarios in a controlled environment so they are equipped with knowledge that could save their life in the future.
A recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) shows that teen driver fatalities are on the rise among 16- and 17-year-old drivers nationwide. Also, analysis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) traffic data shows that in 2011 there were approximately 2,300 traffic fatalities among those ages 15 to 19.
“The issue of inexperience with newly licensed drivers is serious, and we are proud to provide a step in the learning process to help teens gain more experience with real-life scenarios, as well as educate parents on some best practices that will help their teens become better drivers,” said Jim Graham, manager of Ford’s Driving Skills for Life program. “Ford Motor Company Fund is very pleased to bring our award-winning safe driving hands-on training program to Virginia teens, parents and educators.”
Research conducted for the Ford DSFL program also shows that teens tend to follow in their parents’ footsteps when it comes to driving habits. Parents can help address the problem simply by setting a good example behind the wheel. These good habits include everything from not speeding and buckling up, to teaching their children how to scan for potential hazards while driving. Parents are invited to attend one of the hands-on training sessions with their teen October 11, 12 or 13.
More information can be found online at www.DrivingSkillsforLife.com.