For the fourth year, NHRA drag racing Traxxas Ford Mustang Funny Car driver Courtney Force is stepping up to the plate as the official spokesperson for Ford's Driving Skills for Life program. Force spoke to over 400 teens at Ford Driving Skills for Life’s “Strive for a Safer Drive” event, a teen driving initiative aimed at reducing serious traffic crashes, injuries, and fatalities among Michigan's most inexperienced drivers - teens.
“We were very happy to have Courtney with us today to support the Driving Skills for Life program. She has been a very strong advocate of teen safe driving. The schools here today were part of a program called Strive for a Safer Drive in the State of Michigan, so they’ve done in-school programming and this is kind of the icing on the cake; getting to come out and do hands-on training with professional drivers and getting to meet Courtney, so we’re really happy she’s here. She did a great program about wearing seatbelts and we’re just glad she’s here supporting Driving Skills for Life,” said Jim Graham, manager of Ford Driving Skills for Life.
Ford DSFL is a free, hands-on driver training program that helps teens develop essential skills in several key areas - speed & space management, vehicle handling, hazard recognition and driver distraction. These situations present the most problems for new drivers and contribute to more than 60 percent of teen crashes – the number-1 cause of death for American teenagers. Force’s major focus was on one area: seat belts.
On the race track, it’s unthinkable for Force to drive without buckling up. Together with Ford, the 25-year-old is committed to helping teens understand that buckling up every time and exercising safe driving behavior is worth it to keep their car keys - from revocation by either parents or law enforcement, or losing them permanently through serious injury or even death from an auto accident.
Ford developed Driving Skills for Life in 2003 in partnership with the Governor's Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Ford Motor Company Fund has invested an additional $1 million in DSFL to expand the program's reach to high schools in 15 states. The government reports more than 3,000 young Americans aged 15-19 die each year on the nation's roads and highways. The goal of DSFL is to save lives by reducing the number of traffic accidents involving young drivers.
Courtney and the Driving Skills for Life team are also encouraging teens to share their efforts to “keep the keys” by offering their safe driving tips on Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag #keepthekeys.