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National Teen safe driving program to host summer camp in PITTSBURGH area JUNE 26-28


WASHINGTON, Pa.– More than 600 students from Pittsburgh-area high schools will participate in free hands-on safe driving events June 26-28, at Consol Energy Park in suburban Washington.

Vehicle crashes remain the number one killer of teenagers in America, including 214 in Pennsylvania in 2005, according to the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The “ride-and-drive” events, aimed at reducing teen auto-related deaths in the Pittsburgh area, is part of yearlong partnership Taking the Lead, based on the national Driving Skills for Life program conducted by Ford Motor Company Fund – the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company – and the Governors Highway Safety Association.

During three one-day safe driving sessions, teens will hone their skills in specially equipped vehicles such as skid cars on challenging road courses under the supervision of a team of highly skilled professional instructors. Students arrive at 8:30 a.m. each day and are served a continental breakfast. The sessions include a break for lunch and dinner, and conclude at 6:30 p.m. Also featured will be motivational speakers Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley, former Pittsburgh Steelers and hosts of the popular In the Locker Room with Tunch and Wolf program on Pittsburgh’s WPCW-TV. In addition, there will be other fun activities. Spots remain open for each of the three days. Students can register by going on-line at, or call toll-free at 1.888.987.8765. Parents also are encouraged to attend.

The three-day event also is supported by Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA-TV; Westfield Insurance, headquartered in Westfield Center, Ohio, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENNDOT). Also participating in the Taking the Lead partnership is KDKA-TV sister station WPCW-TV, a CW affiliate.

Developed in 2003 by Ford Motor Company Fund, GHSA and a panel of safety experts, Driving Skills for Life aims to help newly licensed drivers develop skills necessary for safe driving beyond what they learn in traditional driver education programs. The Pittsburgh partnership includes on-air messaging, special programming and on-line information.

Studies demonstrate that teen crash rates decline considerably as young drivers gain experience behind the wheel. Driving Skills for Life helps young drivers improve their skills in four key areas that are critical factors in more than 60 percent of teen vehicle crashes:

* Hazard Recognition
* Vehicle Handling
* Space Management
* Speed Management

* “Ford is delighted to have Driving Skills for Life participate in this program with KDKA-TV and Westfield Insurance,” said Jim Vella, President of Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. “Taking the Lead demonstrates a solid commitment to help teens develop the additional skills necessary to reduce teen-related auto accidents.”

Said Chris Pike, Vice-President/General Manager of KDKA-TV: “This program fits with our mission of addressing an important issue in our community. Improving the driving skills of Pittsburgh-area teens will hopefully help these drivers and their families avoid the tragedies that are too often experienced in our area.”

Added Roger McManus, President of Westfield Insurance: “We’re proud to be part of this program. There is a growing need in the quest to enhance teen safety for collaboration between parents, law enforcement, advocacy organizations and corporate partners.”

“The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is honored to be part of this very important educational program,” said District 12 Executive Joseph J. Szczur, P.E. “This driving camp provides an excellent opportunity to help teen drivers develop safe driving habits and save lives.”

Driving Skills for Life provides effective learning tools, including the comprehensive interactive Web site that rewards students for taking the initiative to learn safe driving techniques. Several new learning modules have been introduced in 2007, including a car care module designed to assist teens who encounter vehicle problems on the road. In addition, educator materials are available at no charge in English and Spanish, allowing instruction of the program in school or community settings.

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services is committed to creating opportunities that promote corporate citizenship, philanthropy, volunteerism and cultural diversity for those who live in the communities where Ford does business. Established in 1949 and made possible by Ford Motor Company profits, Ford Motor Company Fund supports initiatives and institutions that foster innovative education, auto-related safety, and American heritage and legacy. National programs include Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies, which provides high school students with academically rigorous 21st century learning experiences, and Driving Skills for Life, a teen-focused auto safety initiative. The Ford Volunteer Corps, established in 2005, continues Ford’s legacy of caring worldwide. Through the Volunteer Corps, salaried employees, union members, retirees and their families participate in a wide range of volunteer projects in their communities. For more information on programs made possible by Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services, visit

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Indian Nation. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy and enhance program management. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202.789.0942 or visit .

KDKA-TV , a CBS-owned and operated station, is committed to improving the quality of life in the region we serve. The station has a long history of community involvement including a 53-year tradition of supporting Pittsburgh’s Children’s Hospital with an annual telethon and a 25-year tradition of airing the annual KD Turkey Drive in support of Pittsburgh’s Food Bank.


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