Monday 18, April 2016

Riyadh – MENA Herald: In a bid to help make driving in the Kingdom safer, Ford Middle East in partnership with Al Jazirah Vehicles Agencies Co., the sole authorised dealer for the Ford and Lincoln brands in the Kingdom, announced they would be partnering with Al-Imam Mohammed Ibn Saud Islamic University this year to host the events of the “Driving Skills for Life” programme in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The free programme aims at educating students about the best safe driving practices and helping them to improve their road safety record.

World Health Organization’s statistics indicate that the vast majority of traffic accident victims are young people and that road accidents represent the second largest cause of death in the world for the 15 – 29 age group. The United Nations’ report entitled “Youth and Road Safety” shows that each year, traffic accidents cause the death of 400,000 young people under the age of 25, and the statistics of the General Department of Traffic in the Kingdom showed that children and young people represent 72% of the deaths caused by traffic accidents.( )

A recent Saudi study showed that the Kingdom suffers a loss of 87.17 billion Riyals as a result of road accidents in the Kingdom (MBC- ). The Kingdom ranked second in the Arab world and twenty third world wide with regards to road accidents, where the drivers in 45% of traffic accidents in Saudi Arabia are less than 30 years of age. In 2015, the “Najm” application registered more than 920,000 accidents in one year, an increase of 22% compared to 2014, and 29.7% of drivers had two or more accidents during this same year. The use of mobile telephones was among one of the most important reasons for the increase of traffic accidents during the past few years. Furthermore, 33.3% of accidents in Saudi Arabia were due to the fact that the driver did not leave sufficient space between himself and the vehicle in front of him. Car accidents are expected to be one of the main causes of deaths in the Kingdom.
The “Driving Skills for Life” programme is a national initiative for road safety created by Ford Motor Company in 2003 in cooperation with the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and a panel of safety experts. The programme has been adapted for each host market to reflect the local driving experience and the quality of the roads.

In its first 10 years, the “Driving Skills for Life” programme participated in training more than 30,000 young people in about 900 educational institutions in 39 states, in addition to 15 international markets across Europe, Asia and North America. In 2013, the programe made its debut in the Middle East, in the United Arab Emirates, followed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman.

This year the programme will be held at Imam Mohammed Ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh from the 17 to 21 April 2016 where professional instructors will explain and demonstrate the necessary skills for safe driving and give tips on the best practices, using specially equipped cars provided by Ford for this purpose. The instructors will teach students the necessary skills and provide them with a full explanation of the main hazards that they may face. They will also focus on how to handle some difficult situations that occur when driving.

Thierry Sabbagh, Managing Director of Ford Middle East said: “Ford is proud of its rich heritage with regards to safety, which is one of the company’s main pillars and is reflected across the designs of Ford vehicles and their unique technologies, as well as of its activities such as Ford Driving Skills for Life, which was specially designed to make a profound and tangible impact among Arab youth and help make them safer drivers”.

Sabbagh continued: “Inexperience is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents among young drivers, so with this programme we aim to provide students with all the key skill sets that will help increase their knowledge and confidence. We are pleased to organsze the Ford “Driving Skills for Life” programme at the Imam Mohammed bin Saud Islamic University in cooperation with Al Jazirah Vehicles Agencies Co., and to participate in raising awareness on the importance of safe driving among the youth in a hands-on way.”

Fawaz Abdullah Al Kraidees, Sales and Marketing Director of Al Jazirah Vehicles Agencies Co., said: “social responsibility and giving back to the communitiy is a crucial part of AJVA’s corporate philosophy. We have always taken the topic of safe driving seriously, as evidenced by our long term association with the General Department of Traffic in raising awareness. Bringing the Ford Driving Skills for Life to the Kingdom, adds another proof point to our efforts in educating the youth on responsible and safe driving. We are proud to be part of this initiative together with the Imam Mohammed bin Saud Islamic University.”

The programme addresses four key areas that are critical factors in vehicle accidents. These include distractions / hazard recognition, vehicle handling, space management and speed management. These four key areas pose the most problems for young drivers and play a role in more than half of the vehicle crashes involving young people worldwide.

Sabbagh concluded: “Today, Ford offers its customers a wide variety of technologies that have truly revolutionised the driving experience and raised it to unprecedented levels. It has helped drivers experience safe driving and even avoid accidents. We remain focused and committed to provide high end technologies that will help make the roads all over the world, safer for both passengers and drivers”.