Fifteen years ago, Ford founded the Driving Skills for Life program, which is dedicated to spreading awareness for safer driving habits in order to reduce fatal and life-altering traffic accidents. The company has not only changed lives, but also reached out and collaborated with countless individuals, organizations, and communities working to increase awareness about the dangers of inexperienced and unsafe driving habits.
Part of the celebration of the anniversary involves honoring what Ford is referring to as the “Unsung Heroes of Highway Safety.” These six candidates were honored for their commitment to keeping America’s roads safe.
- Martha Tessmer lost her son to distracted driving and decided to use her 38 years of teaching experience to design lesson plans around the perils of distracted driving.
- Jacob Smith came perilously close to death in a collision and travels the country speaking to young people about vehicle safety.
- From 2005-2006, Tazewell County of Illinois lost 15 young people in accidents, and award winner John Shallenberger, a sheriff’s deputy, formed Operation Teen Safe Driving that helped cut fatalities by 50 percent.
- Purnima Uni created the “Be in the Zone” teen motor vehicle safety initiative at a children’s hospital in Franklin, Tennessee.
- Andy Pilgrim of Bowling Green, Kentucky, is a race car driver that uses his time off of the track to talk to parents about how their driving habits influence their children.
- Sandy Spavone founded National Youth Traffic Safety Month and has worked with youth peer education programs for 16 years.
At the event, Ford also unveiled WheelSwap, a driving simulation geared towards teaching inexperienced drivers better habits.
In coming years, Ford’s Driving Skills for Life program will continue its work in community outreach and promoting a healthier, safer life for all drivers on the road. Jim Vella, president of the Ford Motor Company Fund, said, “We thank each of our honorees for their important work, and for representing the countless safety advocates… who help keep our families safe everyday.”
If you need a new vehicle for the young driver in your life, visit us at Midwest Ford.