Ford and Governors Highway Safety Association Bring Driving Skills for Life Program to Maryland

Oct 15, 2010, 11:21 ET from Governors Highway Safety Association

Program uses "hands-on" training to teach young drivers and address key teen crash problems

BALTIMORE, Oct. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In the midst of growing national awareness about the dangers facing teen drivers, the Ford Motor Company Fund, the Governors Highway Safety Association, and the Maryland State Highway Administration's Highway Safety Office are partnering to bring the Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL) teen safe driving program to more than 400 Baltimore area teen drivers.  The trainings will take place at the Maryland Police & Correctional Training Commissions in Sykesville, MD on Saturday, October 16th and Sunday, October 17th.  There is no cost to participants.



"It is our privilege to provide life-saving driving skills to these Maryland's teen drivers," said Jim Graham, Community Relations Manager for the Ford Fund. "Ford Driving Skills for Life has a proven track record in helping combat the alarming number of teen crashes and fatalities throughout the United States through our award winning online curriculum and hands-on events like this one in Maryland."

Four areas have been identified by experts as key factors to more than 60% of teen crashes and fatalities - hazard recognition (distractions), vehicle handling, speed management and space management.  The Ford DSFL program specifically addresses these concerns, and during the course teen drivers will learn advanced safe-driving skills from some of the nation's top professional driving instructors.  Lessons will take place on a closed road course in specially equipped vehicles that are designed to simulate a number of potentially threatening real-life driving scenarios.  Teen drivers will get to experience the worst the road has to offer in a controlled and safe environment and will have the opportunity to discuss their decisions with educators and parents.

"Teens unarguably have no choice about their inexperience as drivers, and only driving time will improve their skills," said Vernon F. Betkey, Jr., Chief of SHA's Maryland Highway Safety Office and Chairman of the Governors Highway Safety Association.  "The controlled environment offered by Ford Driving Skills for Life is ideal at safely getting young drivers more experience and improving their driving decision-making for the rest of their lives."

Important young driver safety facts:

  • Nationally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for persons ages 15 to 20;
  • Across the United States, teen drivers are in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers, with nearly 6,000 teens dying annually in traffic crashes;
  • In Maryland, thirty people are injured every day as a result of a crash involving a young driver;
  • Every three days in Maryland, someone dies as a result of a young driver- involved crash;
  • Teen drivers fall into this risk category for a multitude of reasons, including inexperience, and reduced search, scan, and reaction abilities.

Enrollment in the free Maryland Ford DSFL was available to teens with a valid driver's licenses or learners permit. Parents are strongly encouraged to attend with their teen.  Registration is currently full however a waiting list is available at under the "News and Events" section.

About Ford Driving Skills for Life

Ford Driving Skills for Life was created in 2003 in partnership with the Governors Highway Safety Association.  It is one of the nation's most comprehensive teen driver safety programs.  In addition to hands-on events such as the event being held in Maryland, it consists of learning tools on an interactive Web site ( that includes a learning module, quizzes, car care videos, driving tip videos, interactive games and an enhanced eco-driving curriculum. Free educator packets are available for students and parents, as well as teachers and community programs.   Additionally, individual programs can be created to meet the specific needs of communities and schools.

About Ford Motor Company and Community Services

Established in 1949, and made possible by funding from Ford Motor Company, the Ford Motor Company Fund strengthens communities with programs that foster innovative education, driving, and quality of life in our communities.  National programs include Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies, which provides high school students with academically rigorous 21st century learning experiences, and Ford Driving Skills for Life - a teen-focused auto safety initiative. The Ford Volunteer Corps, established in 2005, continues Ford's legacy of caring worldwide. Through the Volunteer Corps, Ford employees and retirees participate in a wide range of volunteer projects in their communities. For more information on programs made possible by the Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services, visit  

About Maryland State Highway Administration

Safety is the number one priority of the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA).  Together with partners in engineering, education, enforcement and Emergency Medical Services, SHA's goal is to save lives and prevent injury traffic crashes. Through its Maryland Highway Safety Office, SHA directs the administration of a network of comprehensive and effective safety programs, which are supported by a combination of federal, state and local funds.  

About the Governors Highway Safety Association

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Indian Nation.  GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy and enhance program management.  Its members are appointed by their governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit

SOURCE Governors Highway Safety Association