DEARBORN, Mich., June 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
- Summer months are the most dangerous for teens as they face risks associated with impaired driving, reckless driving and distracted driving
- Ford Motor Company Fund is partnering with the Ohio Department of Public Safety's Office of Criminal Justice Services and Westfield Insurance to offer free Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) safe-driving clinics to eligible Ohio teen drivers
- Ohio Summer Tour will train 1,200 teen drivers in Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland
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."
Developed with the Governors Highway Safety Association, Ford Driving Skills for Life is recognized as the nation's most comprehensive driving skills program, with free professional driver instruction, state grants, free materials for parents and educators, and a Web-based curriculum that includes "The Academy" on www.drivingskillsforlife.com. Ford Driving Skills for Life has trained more than 500,000 new drivers through free online and professional hands-on driver instruction.
About Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services
Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community partners to advance driving safety, education and community life. For more than 60 years, Ford Motor Company Fund has operated with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F). The award-winning Ford Driving Skills for Life program teaches new drivers through a variety of hands-on and interactive methods. Innovation in education is encouraged through national programs that enhance high school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants. Through the Ford Volunteer Corps, more than 25,000 Ford employees and dealers work on projects each year that better their communities in more than 40 countries. For more information, visit www.community.ford.com.
About the Ohio Department of Public Safety's Office of Criminal Justice Services
The Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) within the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS) serves as the lead justice planning and assistance agency for the state. Through research, technology and grants, OCJS serves a wide variety of agencies committed to reducing and preventing crime across Ohio. OCJS coordinates and funds the efforts of DUI Task Forces and grants for local law enforcement and safety partners to combat impaired and unsafe driving and promotes educational programs, coalition-building efforts and campaigns focused on highway safety. For more information about OCJS, please visit: http://www.ocjs.ohio.gov/.
About Westfield Insurance
In business for more than 160 years, Westfield Insurance provides commercial and personal insurance in 19 active states and surety services to customers in 28 states. Westfield is one of the nation's 50 largest property and casualty insurance groups, represented by a network of over 1,100 independent insurance agencies. Westfield Bank provides banking solutions for businesses and individuals, and Westfield Services provides service and training support for independent insurance agencies. Learn more about Westfield Insurance at www.WestfieldInsurance.com.
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 and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy and enhance program management and promote best practices. 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 www.ghsa.org.
SOURCE Ford Motor Company