Ford's Safe Driving Survey
Handing over the keys, and advice
“Open communication with your child is vital as they are reaching the driving age,” said family communications expert Dr. Charles Sophy. “First, set a positive example or they won’t take you seriously. Then, take time to talk with them about expectations like curfews, driving destinations and speed limits, and do so on a regular basis. Encourage them to attend local driving clinics or volunteer with community police departments to see firsthand what happens on the road. This can help empower your youngsters to make good decisions.”
Today, Ford hosts an interactive panel discussion led by Dr. Sophy and company safety experts to interpret the research results and discuss ways to enhance teen driving safety. The panel includes Jim Graham, manager, Ford Driving Skills for Life; and Andy Sarkisian, Ford safety planning and strategy manager and one of the creators of Ford’s MyKey® teen driving safety technology and his daughter Lauren, who inspired the innovation after two crashes. Nicole Blades, contributor to Cosmopolitan Magazine, is moderating the panel.
According to NHTSA, in 2009 there were more than 2,300 young (age 15 to 20 years) driver fatalities and nearly 200,000 young drivers injured in crashes. While inattention or distraction – such as daydreaming, talking with passengers, eating or hand-held texting – is a factor for 11 percent of all drivers in fatal crashes, it is reported that 16 percent of all drivers younger than 20 involved in fatal crashes were distracted while driving.
The most compelling research shows distractions that take drivers’ eyes away from the road for an extended period of time are a factor in nearly 80 percent of accidents. Ford’s findings show teens most commonly report their parents are distracted by eating or drinking (57 percent), talking or texting on a hand-held phone (42 percent), and other distractions such as grooming (32 percent).
Ford emphasizes through its Driving Skills for Life program and new technologies how to combat these risks after its research showed that teens can be particularly distracted with new electronics. For example, Ford’s research showed teens generally look away from the road longer to perform tasks such as dialing a phone number.
Safer driving tools
Ford is also making advancements in auto safety technologies to shape teens’ current and future driving experiences, such as:
MyKey – Programmable teen safety feature can limit the vehicle’s top speed (at 65, 70, 75 or 80 mph) and audio volume to 44 percent of total volume. MyKey also encourages seat belt use by muting the audio system if front occupants aren’t buckled up, and can be programmed to block inappropriate radio content
SYNC® – Hands-free communication technology links with a user’s cellular phone and music player so they can more safely make calls and listen to their favorite songs. The 911 Assist feature helps quickly connect drivers directly to a local emergency operator in the event of an accident
Intelligent vehicles – Ford is the first automaker to tour the country with prototypes of “talking vehicles” with advanced Wi-Fi technology that one day could alert drivers of potential collisions they don’t see and reduce traffic congestion and wasted fuel. Intelligent vehicles could potentially help in 81 percent of all police-reported light-vehicle crashes involving unimpaired drivers, according to a NHTSA report
For more information about Ford Driving Skills for Life, visit www.drivingskillsforlife.com to get details about this year’s tour including modules, quizzes, car care and driving tip videos and games. Free educator packets are available for students, parents, educators and community organizations.
About the survey
The survey, conducted by Kelton Research, offers a cross-generational look at thoughts and behaviors related to driving safety. The respondent sample included 908 people (305 parents of 9- to 19-year-olds, 302 teens ages 13 to 19, and 301 tweens ages 9 to 12).
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 164,000 employees and about 70 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.
About Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services
Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community partners to advance driving safety, education and American heritage and community life. The Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 60 years with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. The award-winning Ford Driving Skills for Life program teaches new drivers through a variety of hands-on and interactive methods. Innovation in education is encouraged through national programs that enhance high school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants. Through the Ford Volunteer Corps, more than 20,000 Ford employees and retirees each year work on projects that better their communities in dozens of countries. For more information, visit www.community.ford.com.