• Ford invests €2.9 million to train thousands more young drivers in Europe in 2016, increases Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) investment in the region to nearly €10 million since the programme began in 2013
  • In Europe, car crashes are the leading cause of death for 18- to 24-year-olds. Free, hands‑on DSFL training highlights the risks to drivers posed by drugs, alcohol, and using social media behind the wheel
  • Ford has already trained 13,500 drivers in 11 countries in Europe in hazard recognition, vehicle handling, speed/space management, and distractions. This year, the programme will be extended to 13 countries, including Finland and Poland, and train 7,000 more drivers

Ford Motor Company today announced it will invest another €2.9m in 2016 to provide free driver training to 7,000 more 18- to 24-year-olds across Europe.

Ford of Europe has now committed a total of €9.6 million in training through its acclaimed Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) programme since 2013. This year, Ford will offer free training for the first time in Finland and Poland, and continue to provide training in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Spain, Turkey, and the U.K.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for Europeans aged 18 to 24-year-olds*. Ford has already trained 13,500 novice drivers in Europe, providing free, hands-on classes covering hazard recognition, vehicle handling, and speed and space management. The programme also highlights the risks posed by social media distractions such as texting and taking selfies at the wheel, as well as the dangers of drinking and driving, or driving after taking drugs.

"Too many young adults are dying in car crashes caused by a combination of inexperience and poor decision making," said Jim Graham, manager, Ford DSFL. "With this new €2.9 million investment in young driver training for 2016, we can provide a further 7,000 young people with the skills and knowledge that could save their lives."

Ford was the first car manufacturer to introduce free comprehensive advanced hands-on driver training for newly licensed drivers. In the 11 years since it was launched in the U.S., Ford DSFL has provided training to more than 650,000 people globally.

Ford has teamed with leading safety organisations across Europe including the Belgian National Road Safety Association; Association Prévention Routière in France; Deutscher Verkehrssicherheitsrat in Germany; the ACI in Italy; Road Safety Russia in Russia; Dirección General de Tràfico in Spain; and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Brake and AA Driving School in the U.K. Ford is currently working to add further safety partners in 2016.

In addition, Ford is enlisting YouTube stars from across Europe to help raise awareness of the issues of young driver road safety throughout 2016 with a series of videos and events. Follow the link to see Tim Burton ofShmee150, Paul Wallace of Supercars of London and Sam Fane of Seen Through Glass experience Ford DSFL for the first time
- including the disorientating Drug Driving Suit.

Nearly all the drivers who responded to a short survey after completing the Ford DSFL programme last year in Europe, said they were more confident in their ability to drive after training, and would recommend the programme to a friend. Feedback from Spanish participants revealed that some had used the skills to avoid or mitigate the effects of an accident.

"Newly qualified drivers still have so much to learn about safety on the road so we strongly urge young drivers to take advantage of Ford DSFL training," Graham said. "It's fun, free, informative, and because we constantly re-evaluate what we teach, it's always relevant."

For more information, go to www.forddsfl.co.uk