The number one cause of death among teenagers is car accidents. Of those car accidents, drunk driving is the most common cause. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, more than one third of all US automotive fatalities involve alcohol. Ford Motor Foundation has attempted to combat this trend through their Ford Driving Skills program. Ford Driving Skills goes around the country providing a free-half day program aimed at teaching the dangers of drunk driving.
The program includes both a drunk driving and a drugged driving simulation. The drunk driving simulation consist of the participant wearing goggles. The moment you put the goggles on, they impair the vision of the participant and have the same effect as having a couple of drinks.
The participants then drive the vehicle with the goggles on and simulate the same effect as someone who is impaired. Ford will be visiting 15 cities in the United States this summer to educate teenagers about the dangers of drunk driving.
Ford Driving Skills has been educating teenagers on the dangers of drunk driving all over the world for the past 12 years. Despite the great effort to educate teenagers on drunk driving, the percentage of alcohol related automotive fatalities is still far too high. One third of car accidents are still alcohol related, so it begs the question if these programs are effective in their approach to drunk driving. This does not mean that programs like these should come to a halt but rather they should have a different approach.
The program has great intentions but it is not resonating with teenagers given the correlation of drunk driving related accidents.
We will have to keep watch and see how effective the program is this summer.