FORD ANNOUNCES NEW NATIONWIDE TRAINING FOR YOUNG DRIVERS AS DATA REVEALS A FIFTH OF ALL SERIOUS CRASHES INVOLVES NOVICES

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  • Award-winning Ford Driving Skills for Life(Ford DSFL) launched in UK - free training for young drivers supported by the Ford Fund
  • The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and the Automobile Association (AA) confirmed as long-term partners
  • Car crashes identified as one of the UK’s leading causes of death in 17-24 year-olds  
  • One in five of all major road accidents involved young novice drivers and 1,552 were killed or seriously injured*1
  • In addition to the UK, Ford DSFL launches today across mainland Europe, as a new survey shows most young drivers admit to speeding and half use a mobile phone, eat or drink at the wheel
  • Ford will invest over £1.2 million (€1.5 million) this year alone to train 5,000 young drivers in the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy
  • Ford Driving Skills for Lifedebuted 10 years ago in the U.S. and is now active in Asia and other global markets. It has provided hands-on training to 100,000 drivers and a further 500,000 online

Brentwood, Essex, 25 June 2013 – Ford Motor Company today announced the introduction of its globally successful 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, and in a bid to tackle common concerns for the vulnerability of inexperienced drivers under 25, 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.

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, executive vice president and president of Europe, Middle East and Africa, Ford Motor Company. “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.”

Ford Driving Skills for Life will provide free hands-on expert training to young drivers alongside a dedicated website – www.fordDSFL.co.uk – that together address the leading causes of accidents in this age group: hazard recognition, vehicle handling, speed/space management and distractions.

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.”

According to Department for Transport statistics*1, one in five of all reported personal injury road accidents in 2011 involved young car drivers, and 1,552 were killed or seriously injured -  25 per cent of all such casualties.

“The evidence suggests that younger drivers are slower to identify some risky situations than more experienced drivers,” said driving behaviour expert Cris Burgess, a UK government advisor and senior lecturer in psychology at Exeter University. “That inexperience often adds crucial split seconds in reaction time, so that when they do recognise the danger, they are unable to take the necessary action quickly enough to avoid a crash.”

“Vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for young people so we are delighted to be partnering with Ford on the Driving Skills for Life initiative that offers free-of-charge supplementary training to all under-25s,” said Kevin Clinton, head of road safety, Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. “Education is a fundamental pillar in recognising risk and ultimately reducing the number of young people killed or seriously injured on our roads.”

The Ford survey found 31 per cent of parents of 17-24 year olds in the UK are more concerned that their children might be involved in a crash, than be a victim of a crime, lose their job, or fail at school/college.

Mark Ovenden, chairman and managing director, Ford of Britain said: “As a parent of teenage children, one of whom is currently learning to drive, I am totally supportive of supplementary training to build awareness, skills and confidence.  With Ford Driving Skills for Life we hope to inspire a generation of safer, more responsible and better skilled young motorists.”

The survey also showed that while most UK young drivers ranked getting to their destination safely as the most important factor in a car journey, 45 per cent exceeded speed limits, 27 per cent said they had been involved in a crash or a near miss; 11 per cent had lost control of a car; 10 per cent had been involved in a road rage incident, and 4 per cent 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,” said Jim Vella, president of the Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services, the philanthropic arm of Ford that oversees Ford Driving Skills for Life. “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 Lifeand to register interest, visit www.FordDSFL.co.uk

# # #

* Ford research was carried out between: 12/05/2013 and 28/05/2013. Sample: 4,325 parents who drive with children aged 17-24 and 5,160 young adults who drive aged 17-24 from the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

In the UK, 1,000 UK parents who are drivers and have children aged 17-25, and 1,149 young drivers aged 17-25 participated in this Ford research

*1 Department for Transport – Reported road accidents involving young car drivers:  Great Britain 2011 and Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2011, DfT, 2012

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 175,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.

Ford of Europe is responsible for producing, selling and servicing Ford brand vehicles in 50 individual markets and employs approximately 47,000 employees at its wholly owned facilities and approximately 69,000 people when joint ventures and unconsolidated businesses are included. In addition to Ford Motor Credit Company, Ford Europe operations include Ford Customer Service Division and 24 manufacturing facilities (15 wholly owned or consolidated joint venture facilities and nine unconsolidated joint venture facilities). The first Ford cars were shipped to Europe in 1903 – the same year Ford Motor Company was founded. European production started in 1911.

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