OREANDA-NEWS. Ford Motor Company recently hosted six, half-day Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) workshops in Mandalay for the first time, to reach out to more drivers and raise awareness of safe driving techniques and driver safety nationwide. 

“Our Driving Skills for Life program is focused on providing drivers with the training and tools they need to stay safe behind the wheel,” said David Westerman, managing director, Asia Pacific Emerging Markets, Ford Motor Company. “Road safety is a very serious issue, and we feel it is our responsibility to help reinforce this message among Myanmar motorists, especially with young and inexperienced drivers.” 

The workshops were held free of charge for more than 250 civil servants, media, Ford customers, emergency services personnel and members of the community who will learn about the importance of safe driving skills. 

These workshops, in Myanmar’s second largest city, build on the success of DSFL sessions for more than 150 participants in Yangon held earlier this year. They follow the opening of Ford’s first facility in Mandalay, which includes a 12-vehicle showroom and a service center to meet the full range of customers’ aftersales needs. 

“Since entering Myanmar in 2013, we have remained committed to taking a leadership role in building Myanmar’s automotive industry, and making meaningful contributions that will support the country’s ongoing social development,” said Westerman. “Alongside our Community Grants programme, Driving Skills for Life is one way Ford goes further to help ensure a bright future for Myanmar and its people.” 

In addition to the program’s core content, which includes comprehensive classroom training and hands-on driving sessions, an emphasis on the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol were incorporated into the sessions. Participants wore specially designed gear that helps simulate the experience of driving while movement, coordination and alertness are impaired.

 According to Myanmar’s Traffic Rule Enforcement Supervisory Committee, an average of 11 people die on Myanmar’s roads each day, with most accidents on city streets being caused by speeding, unsafe overtaking, drunk driving and lack of driving experience. 

“As vehicle ownership in Myanmar increases, unfortunately the number of traffic accidents does too,” said Mike Pease, general manager, Capital Automotive. “It is imperative for us to educate the current and next generation of drivers about driving safely. Training, education and public awareness are key, and we’re proud to contribute through Ford’s Driving Skills for Life campaign.”

 In Myanmar, DSFL is organized in partnership with Ford’s local dealer partner Capital Automotive Ltd., and the RMA Group. Trainers from the RMA Academy lead the DSFL training alongside local dealership staff who have been trained by Ford’s global DSFL team. 

DSFL is Ford’s flagship global corporate social responsibility program. In Asia, Ford DSFL is now in its eighth successful year of training licensed drivers of all ages. In addition to Myanmar, DSFL training is provided in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. 

By the end of 2015, Ford DSFL will have reached more than 150,000 people with behind-the-wheel training and hundreds of thousands more through online training, school programs and safe driving campaigns in 32 countries.