Ford South Africa Teaches Young Drivers Valuable Driving Skills

  • Ford introduces the Driving Skills for Life Programme to Mpumalanga youth
  • 200 Grade 12 students from 20 High Schools in the province participated
  • Ford compels young drivers not to get distracted while driving

fordPRETORIA, South Africa, 21 August, 2012 Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) introduced its Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) programme to Grade 12 students in Mpumalanga last week. The initiative was part of Ford’s DSFL safety aspect of the programme, Strive for Safer Driving.

Ford’s DSFL programme was initiated in the US in 2003 after a panel of safety experts identified the need to teach newly licensed teens the necessary skills for safe driving beyond what they learn in standard driver education programmes.

“Most teens are eager to get behind the wheel and enjoy the freedom of being able to drive their own car, on the other hand it is an anxious time for parents,” says Ford Corporate Communications Manager, Alisea Chetty. “The reality is our roads are a dangerous place, even more so for younger, less experienced motorists.”

With the aim of providing teens the skills required to become safer and more responsible drivers, Ford together with MPowerFM invited 20 High Schools in Mpumalanga to nominate ten learners each to participate in a ride and drive educational event. Professional driving instructors were on hand to educate the young students on seat belt usage, speeding, drinking and driving and distracted driving as a result of texting and driving.

“Our instructors received extensive training both locally and abroad. We also brought in specialised equipment from the U.S. such as Drunk Goggles, used to demonstrate the effect that alcohol has on one’s vision, and are a fun and tangible way of demonstrating the implications of drinking and driving.” adds Chetty.

While the students learned critical driving skills such as skid control and accident avoidance they also received valuable life and financial skills training.

“South Africa has an alarmingly high rate of road fatalities each year. As a region with such a high incidence of road fatalities, additional training with our youth is extremely valuable and will go a long way to reducing the death toll on our roads,” concludes Chetty.

Learners that participated in the Driving Skills for Life programme have been invited to create their own peer-to-peer video focusing on what they learned at the event. The top 3 videos will be uploaded to the MPowerFM and the LookLocal (The Lowvelder) websites.

The initiative was made possible by MPowerFM and Ford supported by The Ridge Entertainment Centre, Standard Bank and New Leaf Coaching.