WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 14, 2007)?To mark National Teen Safe Driver Week, Oct. 15-20, Ford Motor Company?s Driving Skills for Life program is conducting one of its trademark hands-on instruction clinics in Los Angeles. On Oct. 16 and 17, some 300 students are expected to get behind the wheel with professional drivers who will coach them on hazard recognition; vehicle handling; space management; and speed management. The DSFL program is presented by Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services, which is the philanthropic arm of the company, and the Governors Highway Safety Association.

In addition, Ford is conducting another of its Car Care Clinics for young women, in Detroit on Oct. 12. The clinics, which cover car maintenance and safety issues, are held at dealerships in conjunction with Girl Scouts who are earning their ?Car Sense? badge.

Furthermore, DSFL will expand its state grants to help states develop teen safe driving programs at a time when funding for high school driver education is becoming rare. In 2007, Delaware, Michigan, and Wisconsin received grants. At the Governors Highway Safety Association annual meeting last month, DSFL distributed best practice guides to 50 state representatives seeking ways to help their own teenage drivers. DSFL also announced it would be expanding the number of state grants in addition to working with the respective states to develop effective safe driving programs.

?Ford is always investigating new ways to save lives on the road, and our legacy in safety innovation shows it,? said Ziad Ojakli, group vice president, Corporate Affairs, Ford Motor Company. ?Whether in technological developments, such as a SYNC hands-free cell phone and MP3 player system we just co-developed with Microsoft, or our innovative DSFL program including its web based curriculum that has reached millions of teen drivers in only four years, we?re thinking outside the box to help protect young drivers.?

Since its launch in 2003, DSFL has conducted 14 of its challenging driving camps in 10 states, providing unique training to more than 2,500 students. Millions more have either participated in DSFL?s online curriculum or been reached through in-school materials and other means.

Already in 2007, DSFL has conducted five instructional events nationwide, including two extended campaigns. A notable success has been a campaign in rural Tazewell County, in central Illinois. During a 15- month period in 2004-2005, the Tazewell community was rocked by a sequence of teen driving deaths. In a county of only 130,000 people, 15 teenagers lost their lives in vehicle crashes.

During the past year DSFL joined a broader community-based initiative?the Tazewell Teen Initiative?to help fight the problem. Together, they created a comprehensive program that included a community awareness-campaign contest among the county?s seven high schools, speaking appearances by professional drivers, eye-catching signage on school property, and educational materials. The program culminated with 300 students participating in intensive professional driving instruction on a closed course over a three-day period.

Since then, there hasn't been a single new teen road fatality in Tazewell County.

?The program gave these teenagers the challenge, financial backing, driving skills and the confidence to make a difference and save lives. It also brought healing to a community still grieving over lives lost,? said Michael R. Stout, director of public safety, Illinois Department of Transportation. ?We cannot put a monetary value on the skills the program taught to the community?skills that will last a lifetime.?

The state of Illinois is so pleased with the Tazewell results that it is looking to provide funding and partner with DSFL to take the program statewide in 2008. Also this past year, DSFL sponsored a year-long Pittsburgh-area campaign called Taking the Lead. The campaign, by a partnership that included DSFL, the local CBS affiliate and a national insurance company, included public service announcements focused on safe teen driving, outreach to local schools, and TV appearances. It culminated in a unique three-day driving ?summer camp? which drew parents and teens from as far away as Florida.

Driving Skills for Life (www.drivingskillsforlife.com): Developed in 2003 by the Governors Highway Safety Association, Ford Motor Company Fund and a panel of safety experts, the program aims to assist newly licensed drivers develop skills necessary for safe driving beyond what they learn in standard driver education programs. The educational materials complement state graduated licensing laws by allowing parents or guardians to take an active role as their teen learns the rules of the road and help young drivers improve their skills in four key areas (hazard recognition; vehicle handling; space management; speed management.) Teacher and educator materials are available online at no charge in both English and Spanish, allowing instruction of the program in school or community settings.