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Ford Driving Skills for Life, a free hands-on training program for newly permitted and licensed drivers, is coming to New Orleans Feb. 24 through Feb. 25 at the NOLA Motorsports Park as part of its 15th national tour. Approximately 400 teen drivers will receive advanced driving instruction over the course of the two days the program is in town.
Across the U.S., motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers. Every year an average of 3,000 teens, ages 16-19, die in vehicle crashes. The award-winning program helps new drivers stay safe behind the wheel by capturing teen and parent interest with free hands-on driving clinics that pair newly licensed drivers with professional driving instructors.
Most schools no longer offer traditional driver education classes. Beyond driver’s education training, the program focuses on the issues and obstacles drivers face that cause crashes. Ford Driving Skills for Life helps young drivers improve their skills in four key areas that are critical factors in more than 60 percent of vehicle crashes: hazard recognition, vehicle handling, and speed and space management. The program also focuses heavily on distracted and impaired driving. The Drugged, Drunk and Hangover Suits are designed to be used with teens and parents to simulate the effects of impaired driving.
“We are excited to bring our global award-winning program to New Orleans,” said James Graham, global manager, Ford Driving Skills for Life. “We look forward to expanding our efforts to help reduce the number of crashes and fatalities through real-world training and teaching improved decision-making skills. Partnering with our Louisiana Ford dealers and the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, we believe we are making a substantial contribution to safer driving for local students and parents in the New Orleans metro area.”
Ford Driving Skills of Life also offers free virtual reality and web-based educational programming. Teens, as well as parents, should visit www.drivingskillsforlife.com to engage in “The Academy,” which focuses on areas of inexperience and distracted/impaired driving. Additional program elements include a comprehensive school safety kit to support peer-to-peer programming in schools, a parent–teen pledge and a host of other free educational materials.
“Mission Not Accomplished: Teen Safe Driving, the Next Chapter,” a Governors Highway Safety Association report released in 2016, shows that despite progress reducing teen driving deaths from 2005 to 2014, teen drivers are still 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than adults 35-40. Special emphasis includes instruction for drivers ages 18-20, who are involved in more fatal crashes than younger teens.