General Motors and Ford Motor Co. are each launching summer programs aimed at helping young drivers be safer.
Despite fewer vehicles on the road during the COVID-19 pandemic, traffic crash fatalities are estimated to have reached a 13-year high in 2020, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System.
Motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death among young people, and since 2015, 43% of teen driver and passenger fatalities involved speeding. By comparison, 30% of fatalities involving drivers and passengers ages 20+ were speeding-related.
Vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for teen drivers. Data from the association and Ford Fund’s Teens & Speeding: Breaking the Deadly Cycle report released earlier this year found that more than 2,000 teen vehicle occupant deaths occur each year.
Studies show that adolescents experiencing psychological distress, like anxiety and depression, report taking more risks on the road, including speeding. By practicing self-care, taking steps to improve mental wellbeing, and encouraging friends to do the same, young people can reduce these statistics and keep loved ones safe on the road this summer, according to GM.
The program is organized around a three-step call to action: print or create a checklist of calming self-care practices that can be completed from a parked vehicle, share the list with a friend to keep in their vehicle, and share DoSomething.org's mental health and safety guide.
After sharing the “Road to Self-Care” checklist with a friend digitally, each participant ages 13-25 can upload proof in the form of a screenshot to be entered for a chance to win a $2,000 scholarship. Three scholarships will be awarded before Sept. 19.
Meanwhile, Ford is partnering with the Governors Highway Safety Association and awarding grants totaling $135,000 to State Highway Safety Offices in Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, New York, Tennessee and Utah.
Grants will be used to create and implement programs to help combat teen speeding in each state.
Ford Fund and the association are resuming their teen driver safety program – Ford Driving Skills for Life – with an eight-city tour featuring free, hands-on training clinics for newly licensed drivers.
The tour kicks off Aug. 7-8 in Anaheim, California, with additional stops planned in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Nashville, Phoenix, Sacramento and San Diego.
Now in its 18th year, Ford Driving Skills for Life pairs newly licensed drivers with professional driving instructors for a focus on necessary skills for safe driving beyond what is learned in traditional driver education courses. The program addresses such critical factors as hazard recognition, speed and space management, and distracted and impaired driving.
Parents can register their teen(s) or sign up to be among the first to get notified of this free training opportunity in their area at drivingskillsforlife.com.