Ford Motor Company has announced the introduction of its Ford Driving Skills for Life programme in the UK, as latest statistics confirm that road accidents remain one of the leading causes of death in young people.
As part of a pan-European launch, Ford will invest more than £1.2 million (€1.5 million) this year in hands-on training for 5,000 novice drivers in the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy and thousands more through the online Driving Skills for Life Academy - ideal for those learner drivers intending to operate vehicles as part of their job.
A Ford poll of 9,500 people – young drivers and their parents – shows most young drivers admit to speeding, almost half eat or drink at the wheel, and two in five use a mobile phone while driving.
“It’s a sobering statistic that 18 to 24 year olds in Europe are at almost twice the risk of being killed in road accidents as other drivers,” said Stephen Odell, Ford Motor Company’s executive vice president and president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “Ford Driving Skills for Life has had a very positive impact in North America and Asia and I’m delighted that we are now bringing this programme to Europe.”
Edmund King, AA president, said: “Road safety is the most important life skill for young people, as crashes remain a major cause of accidental death in this age group. The AA training in Ford Driving Skills for Life will prepare them for a much safer life on the road ahead. We will reinforce the skills needed to counter the combined risks of inexperience and misjudgement. This training, for some, could mean the difference between life and death.”
The survey showed that while most UK young drivers ranked getting to their destination safely as the most important factor in a car journey, 45% exceeded speed limits, 27% said they had been involved in a crash or a near miss; 11% had lost control of a car; 10% had been involved in a road rage incident, and 4% admitted they had driven after drinking excess alcohol.
“Passing a driving test is a rite of passage, but that alone is not enough to ensure a young driver becomes a safe driver,” concluded Jim Vella, president of the Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. “Ford Driving Skills for Life gives young inexperienced drivers valuable tools and skills that can help reduce their exposure to risk. And we work closely with external agencies to make sure the training is fun, informative and above all effective.”
For more information about Ford Driving Skills for Life and to register interest, visit www.FordDSFL.co.uk.