I've had occasion to write about some remarkable CSR projects of a few of our responsible corporate citizens in the country in past columns. Lately, perhaps because we just concluded the first everDriven to Serve Awards held at the Resorts World Manila recognizing the most exemplary CSR projects in the motoring industry, I am intermittently giving space not only to the winners of the Driven To Serve Awards organized by the Society of Philippine Motoring Journalists (SPMJ) but to other non-winners as well whose CSR projects are also noteworthy.
Ford Philippines chose to focus on drivers' education, cognizant of the fact that escalating road accidents in the country continue to be a major cause of concern. As part of their initiative to prioritize road safety in their CSR projects, they coordinated with the Governors Highway Safety Association and a panel of safety experts to establish the Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) program. Through this program, Ford hopes to educate new and experienced drivers and equip them with a valuable skill for life. Actually, this program is a global initiative for the company, and a testament to its success is the fact that it has been replicated in other countries.
The Driving Skills for Life program started in 2008. Ford decided to work with the Tuason Racing School to pursue their road safety advocacy. JP Tuason, head of the racing school, ably customized his program to Philippine road conditions and tackled issues like lack of awareness of unsafe driving habits among our local drivers. Also included in the program are risks of distracted driving techniques to improve fuel economy and other safety issues.
Eight years later, in 2016, over 18,000 drivers of private and public utility vehicles have been trained through the Driving Skills for Life program. Private vehicles include Ford customers, fleet partners and students while PUVs include bus, jeepney and taxi drivers. How did they go about the DSFL? Ford organized classroom and special sessions and held them in the workplaces of the PUV drivers. They engaged another interested stakeholder, the PUV owners and management who, like the drivers themselves, stand to benefit the most from the DSFL program. When your drivers are well-trained in road safety, you eliminate or lessen the chances of fatal accidents in your transport business. Also, a big plus for these PUV owners is the inclusion of techniques to improve fuel economy in the program.
There were other participants who attended the training seminars at different Ford dealerships across the country or in selected universities. The good news for everyone is these seminars are completely free of charge to participants and at no cost to the hosting venues.
Those who participated in the DSFL program are ultimately the winners because, aside from basic safe driving and fuel efficient driving techniques, the program dealt with other sub-topics. Take for instance the primary need to check the vehicle before bringing it out into the streets. How many accidents have cost lives, injuries and damage to property because of faulty brakes or unstable tire rods or other similar problems that could have been addressed easily before the vehicle is driven out into the street? Or the importance of seat belts and child safety belts? Or avoiding common distractions that cause road accidents? The new bill (that has just been suspended as of last week) tackles driving distractions and there is a clear need to study this matter because these distractions have likewise caused many a road accident, but creating a bill and implementing it effectively is another matter altogether. It requires more extensive studies, more consultations with the relevant government agencies and other private stakeholders. Let's not rush this please.
Other topics tackled in the DSFL include the green driving techniques to protect the environment, creating more awareness about the perils of drunk driving and important inputs on driver assist technologies.
Ford continues with their Driving Skills for Life Program because it has proven to be quite successful. The program is open to all licensed drivers, whatever your age is. Check with your Ford dealer to find out about the DSFL seminar schedules for the year. It could be life-saving.
Mabuhay!!! Be proud to be a Filipino.
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