By Bennett Oghifo
As a committed and responsible corporate citizen in Nigeria, Ford is making a significant contribution to promoting safe driving with the introduction of its global Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) programme next month in Nigeria. This is in line with Ford’s decision to roll out this successful international programme to more countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
This successful driver training programme was launched in South Africa in 2014 and it was introduced into Angola last year.
Ford launched DSFL in the United States in 2003 and the system has been improved and adapted to suit local conditions in many global markets over the years.
DSFL is a free, advanced driving skills programme for newly-licensed drivers as well as a means of improving the defensive driving ability of experienced drivers. It is funded by the not-for-profit Ford Motor Company Fund as an effective method of improving driving skills globally and so contributing to road safety.
The half-day DSFL training starts with a one hour theoretical session followed by practical training where the trainee is accompanied by a professional driver trainer in cars provided by Ford. The practical exercise includes a pre-trip inspection, experiencing braking distances from 60km/h and 120km/h as well as staggered following distances. Then there is an ABS braking exercise, a reaction test and finally a slalom activity to evaluate car control.
The Nigerian Auto Journalists’ Association (NAJA), the umbrella body for all journalists in Nigeria covering the automobile and automotive industry, is already setting a good example by insisting that its members undergo annual training, and Ford’s DSFL will form part of this programme.
“This year the Nigerian Auto Journalists’ Association is undertaking a program to re-invigorate our members through a number of relevant training courses to improve their skills and knowledge levels,” explained Mike Ochonma, the vice president of the NAJA and a member of the NAJA event organising committee.
“We are very pleased that we have been able to partner with Ford so that we can include the Driving Skills for Life training into our overall program. This driver training is very important for our members as it is at the core of their profession. It is also supportive of the government’s initiatives to improved road safety in our country and to cut the death toll on our roads.”
This positive move by the motoring journalists has already been highly praised by the Nigerian Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (NAMA).
The first DSFL training session in Nigeria will take place at the Lekki premises of Coscharis Motors on July 30.
The issue of improving road safety has been in the news lately in Nigeria, so the timing for the launch of Ford’s DSFL initiative is excellent.
Only recently the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Boboye Oyeyemi, appealed to Nigerian motorists to abide by traffic rules and regulations to ensure the success of the Corps’ campaign against road carnage in the country. He added that road safety is a shared responsibility in which all road users must be active participants.
Oyeyemi went on to say that his organisation is committed to meeting its 2016 goals of reducing road traffic accidents in Nigeria by 15 percent and reducing fatalities by 20 percent. He added that globally road accidents account for the deaths of 1.24-million people a year and they are the major cause of death among young people aged between 15-29 years.
“In addition, 91% of the world’s fatalities on roads occur in low- and middle-income countries even though these countries have only half the world’s vehicles driving on their roads,” Oyeyemi commented.
“The timing for the introduction of Driving Skills for Life by Ford in Nigeria comes at the right time with so much government focus on road safety,” commented Eugene Herbert, the CEO of MasterDrive, and organisation which facilitates Ford’s DSFL programme in many parts of the world. “My team is looking forward to introducing young Nigerians to the many benefits that flow from undergoing a Ford DSFL course.”