Missouri is one of three states where teen drivers get to learn advanced driving skills from professional instructors at a Ford Driving Skills for Life Clinic.
The primary goal of the half-day course is to teach young drivers how to identify potentially hazardous conditions, speed and space management, and fundamentals of vehicle handling.
In addition to stressing the importance of skills in these key areas, the clinic will also feature invaluable lessons on distracted and impaired driving. The program is free to Missouri teens.
During the 4-hour program, teens will be paired with professional instructors teaching advanced driving skills in vehicles provided by the training program. Parents and guardians are encouraged to attend the clinic with their child.
“This clinic is the next step beyond traditional driver education courses and a valuable next step in the learning process,” states a recent press release. “Working with professional instructors in actual vehicles, students and parents learn advanced driving skills in a controlled and safe environment. These clinics provide skills beyond those taught in traditional education courses and are an important step in the life-long process to drive safely.”
The free half-day courses will be held Sept. 28 and 29 at Manheim Kansas City, located at 3901 N Skiles Ave in Kansas City, just south of Oceans of Fun. Participants must register online and must either have a learner’s permit or driver’s license.
The program is a cooperative effort between the Ford Motor Company and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).
In Missouri, crashes are the leading cause of death of teenagers. Expert say most of the time these accidents can be prevented.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teens are more likely to underestimate dangerous and hazardous situations compared to their adult counterparts. They are also more likely to speed, follow too closely, and make dangerous errors that result in serious injuries.
In Missouri, only 74 percent of teens wear seat belts while driving or riding with someone else. That’s among the lowest rates of seat belt users compared to other age groups.
Despite an uptick in teen-involved crash deaths in 2015, teen driver-involved traffic crashes and deaths have largely declined over the past decade, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
“This data shows that smart programs that focus on teen driving behavior have been very successful in helping novice and younger drivers be safer on the roads, but that we still have more to do,” said Jim Graham, global manager for the Ford Driving Skills for Life program. “We also need to make sure older teens benefit from these efforts. Our Driving Skills for Life program has trained more than one million new drivers in skills such as hazard recognition, vehicle handling, speed management and space management, and we encourage all drivers under 21 to participate.”
The report, titled “Mission Not Accomplished: Teen Safe Driving, the Next Chapter,” looked at vehicle crashes on public roadways that involved a fatality spanning from 2005-2014. Data showed that 18 to 20-year-old teen drivers are involved in more fatal crashes than 15 to 17-year-old teens.
“This report drives home the message that there is still much to do to reduce teen driver fatal crashes and the resulting deaths,” said GHSA executive director Jonathan Adkins, who oversaw development of the report. “The increase in teen driver fatal crashes is concerning and states are keeping a watchful eye to see if this is the start of a reversal in the gains we’ve made over the past decade. We need to continue to support effective public policies that address this issue and make sure that all drivers under 21 years of age have access to programs that improve teen driver safety.”