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Ford Driving Skills for Life visits Darien Lake Theme Park

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Sat, Oct 1st 2016 06:10 pm
Ford Driving Skills for Life in action at Darien Lake Theme Park this weekend. (Submitted photo)
Ford Driving Skills for Life in action at Darien Lake Theme Park this weekend. (Submitted photo)

Free hands-on driver training program focuses on newly permitted and licensed drivers

Program to expand focus on pedestrian safety, drowsy driving and the need to buckle up behind the wheel

Ford Driving Skills for Life, a free hands-on training program for newly permitted and licensed drivers, is taking place at Darien Lake Theme Park this weekend.

The Ford Driving Skills for Life program is dedicated to providing young and inexperienced drivers with the training and tools they need to stay safe behind the wheel by working with professional drivers on a closed course. The half-day sessions focus on equipping teens with new skills in key areas that they tend to lack: hazard recognition, vehicle handling, space and speed management, and distracted and impaired driving.

In addition to a special drunk-driving suit, the 2016 program includes the addition of the new drugged-driving suit designed to stress the dangers of driving while impaired. Participants will have the opportunity to wear both suits to gain perspective on how being impaired can slow movement, reduce coordination, blur vision and make tasks difficult. They'll also learn the importance of safety belt use and pedestrian safety, and about the risks of drowsy driving.

"Our 2016 program features some of the newest and most innovative tools available to teach new drivers to be safe and make sound decisions behind the wheel," said Jim Graham, manager, Ford Driving Skills for Life. "Our new drugged-driving suit is intended to complement our drunk-driving suit and impress upon students the consequences of impaired driving."

Across the U.S., motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among teenagers. According to the New York state governor's traffic safety committee, preliminary data shows that, in 2015, there were nearly 100 police-reported fatal crashes involving drivers ages 16 to 20, and more than 15,300 personal injury crashes.

"While we work year-round to raise awareness and carry out enforcement and education efforts to prevent injuries and deaths on our roadways, we know that drivers ages 16 to 20 are overrepresented in crashes. It is essential to target this young group of drivers to keep them and those with whom they share the road safe," said Terri Egan, acting chair of the governor's traffic safety committee, and executive deputy commissioner of the state Department of Motor Vehicles. "We are pleased to partner with the governor's highway safety association and participate in the Ford Driving Skills for Life program and others like it to provide younger drivers with the tools and resources they need to drive safely."

To register for the Ford Driving Skills for Life program at Darien Lake Theme Park, visit www.drivingskillsforlife.com.

In its first 12 years, Ford Driving Skills for Life has provided hands-on training to more than 41,000 teens in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The program is in 34 countries, with nearly 1 million trained globally. Thousands of teens and parents have used the web-based curriculum at www.drivingskillsforlife.com.

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