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Ford Driving Skills for Life Program Offers Driving Impairment Simulation, Adds Driving Selfies Discussion to Curriculum

By: Jeff Youngs, 3/27/2014
Since 2003, Ford Motor Company and the Governors Highway Safety Association have partnered to offer the Ford Driving Skills for Life program, which provides free advanced skills driver training to new drivers with an emphasis on safe driving and the importance of making smart decisions while behind the steering wheel. Now, as the program enters its second decade, the curriculum adds an impaired driver suit and warnings about taking selfies while driving.

"Over the last 10 years, we have taken pride in our ability to adjust the curriculum to keep up with the constantly changing world awaiting teens and other new drivers," said Jim Graham, Ford Driving Skills for Life manager. "We listen to the needs and concerns of teen drivers, and modify the program to keep it fresh and relevant."

The program's new impaired driver suit replicates the physical challenges experienced by a person under the influence of alcohol. Weights and pads cause encumbrance and a lack of balance, allowing the new suit to enhance the effect of the goggles that students already wear to demonstrate the detrimental effects of impaired driving. Additionally, the curriculum adds discussion about and warnings against taking driving selfies, otherwise known as self-portraits taken with a smart phone camera and then uploaded to social media platforms.

To date, the Ford Driving Skills for Life program has trained 30,000 teen drivers in 900 school districts in 39 states. The program is offered internationally, and this year is expanding to Belgium, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Romania. In emerging markets, the program serves adults who are becoming drivers for the first time. In Europe, it serves college students, as licensing occurs at a later age in that region of the world.

In the United States, the Ford Driving Skills for Life program works with teen drivers. The 2014 schedule includes stops in the following cities, and more may be added:

  • Charleston, WV
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Detroit
  • Indianapolis
  • Kansas City
  • Phoenix
  • Salt Lake City
  • Springfield, IL
  • Tucson

If you can't make it to one of the hands-on driving programs, the Ford Driving Skills for Life website is redesigned this year, and offers new educational materials. Check it out at www.drivingskillsforlife.com.

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