June 05, 2012

Ford Driving Skills for Life holds summer tour to train Ohio teen drivers to avoid tragedy

As summer activities heat up, Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) is offering Ohio teen drivers free half-day driving clinics with some of the nation’s top professional driving instructors designed to address the increase in life-endangering risks that teen drivers face
on the road.

In partnership with the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Office of Criminal Justice Services and Westfield Insurance, the clinics will be held July 9 and 10 at the Cincinnati Manheim Auto Auction in Hamilton; July 12 and 13 at the Columbus Manheim Auto Auction in Grove City; and July 15 and 16 in Northfield Park in Cleveland.

Enrollment is available to the public through an online registration process at www.drivingskillsforlife.com. Drivers ages 15-19 with a driver’s permit or license are eligible to apply for one of the free sessions. Enrollment is available to the first 1,200 eligible teens who register.

“This is a time of year when many teens are driving more miles, perhaps to work or summer activities,” said Jim Graham, Manager, Ford Driving Skills for Life. “Also teens frequently drive with other teens in the vehicle, adding to the risk for these less experienced drivers.”

Teen drivers, mile to mile, are in three times as many fatal crashes as other drivers, claiming the lives of nearly 3,000 drivers ages 15-19 each year. The under-20 age group also has the highest proportion of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, there were 327 Ohio teens killed in traffic crashes during the 2009-2011 period; 184 of them were driving. “We are proud to partner with Ford, GHSA and Westfield Insurance on these incredibly important events this summer for a number of reasons,” said Karhlton Moore, Executive Director of the Office of Criminal Justice Services. When a young life is needlessly ended or crippled, it affects people more than you can imagine.”

Ford Driving Skills for Life will address these risks by providing 1,200 Ohio teen drivers with advanced safe-driving skills training on a specially equipped course that lets them experience the worst the road has to offer within a controlled and safe environment. The free half-day of driving exercises builds skills in four key areas: driver distraction, speed/space management, vehicle handling and hazard recognition.

“Westfield Insurance believes that helping to avoid losses is as important as being there to help after a loss,” says Ed Largent, Westfield Insurance leader and President. “That’s why we’re so proud to have partnered with Ford since 2007 to bring ride-and-drives to communities we serve."


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