There is no substitute for experience. Teens have long been associated with high-risk driving and frequent car accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists car accidents as the number one cause of death among people between the ages of 15 and 20. 16-year-old drivers suffer an accident rate roughly 10 times that of older drivers. Across the nation, lawmakers have sought ways to reduce the distressing accident figures suffered by teens. Graduated licensing programs and increased skills training are two of the more common methods of improving teen driving. A new program hopes to give teens the skills they need to handle themselves on the road.
The Governors Highway Safety Association teamed up with the Ford Driving Skills for Life program to identify and address the key areas where teens’ inexperience may be leading to trouble. The program uses professional drivers and hands-on driving experience to teach teens how to identify hazards, control their vehicles, manage their speed and spacing, and avoid distractions.
In Illinois, high school teams competed for the chance to access the Ford DSFL program and its professional course by designing safety campaigns. The DSFL program has worked in states all across the country to help teens get the advanced instruction that might allow them to avoid the accidents that claim so many lives every year.
Safe driving is a skill that must be taught. Too often, teens are given the bare necessities and then turned loose to learn in real life situations. The cost of a mistake can be too high to bear in these circumstances. More needs to be done to help teens transition from childhood concerns to the serious matter of operating a motor vehicle in public.