Taking The Lead: Ford Driving Skills For Life

The Ford Driving Skills for Life is a global teen driving initiative with hands-on events and education to provide newly licensed, inexperienced, teenage drivers with skills to improve their driving and make good decisions behind the wheel. Taking the Lead: Ford Driving Skills for Life (started in 2007 in Pittsburgh) is a comprehensive community initiative that features an exciting, free interactive website DrivingSkillsForLife.com that teens can use to practice for their permit test and get better behind the wheel. Plus, a FREE high school assembly program to area schools every month.

KDKA-TV, in partnership with Neighborhood Ford Store, Governors Highway Safety Association, Allegheny County Pretrial Services and the Cindy Cohen School of Driving, LLC brings to the community Taking the Lead: Ford Driving Skills for Life school assembly development program that addresses the leading causes of teen deaths. Our team brings this one-hour presentation to a different area high school each month, along with a panel of experts for Q&A with the students.

STUDENTS: Click here for FREE, fun learning modules to help you practice for your permit and driver’s license tests! Log on to DrivingSkillsForLife.com/ACADEMY: Challenge yourself to become a better driver! Online games and videos designed to help you manage distractions, learn what to do in hazardous situations or if you lose control of your vehicle and so much more! Best of all… it’s FREE!


Teens remain the least safe drivers on the road, AAA study shows.

It can be a freeing and liberating experience for teenagers to get their driver’s license, but it also can be deadly.

Ruth Ann Dailey: Under observation, Pittsburgh drivers repent
The study claims nearly 60 percent of young drivers involved in fatal crashes were distracted by such things as other passengers or their cell phones, about 60 percent weren’t wearing seat belts, and nearly 30 percent were speeding. Other factors for teen crashes included inexperience, driving too fast for conditions and making turns improperly.

New, graduated driver’s licenses that began in Pennsylvania in 1999 have helped by limiting the hours younger drivers can be on the road and the number of passengers they can have in the vehicle with them, said PennDOT spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick. For example, crashes for drivers under 18 dropped from more than 15,000 in 1997 to just under 7,000 in 2016, and fatalities dropped from 133 in 1997 to 47 last year.

But traffic accidents remain the leading cause of death for those 16 to 24 years old.

Theresa Podguski, AAA’s director of legislative affairs for the East Central division that includes Pennsylvania, said the agency stresses parental involvement in teen driving. That includes setting a good example and putting limits on when and where their children drive.  “Teens have been watching us drive for a long time, so they see the habits we have,” Ms. Podguski said. “Driving distraction-free is very important for young drivers. With the inexperience teen drivers have, it’s even more of a problem if they are distracted.”

Jill Harry, PennDOT’s safety press officer for northwest Pennsylvania, said it’s important for officials to be persistent with safety programs.  “Click it or Ticket” seat-belt enforcement mobilization

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
State police, PennDOT checking for seat belt scofflaws
“You’re always trying to reach the next group because every year there’s a new group that gets their licenses,” she said. “I guess for me I try to focus on kids who are trying to stay safe and do the right things.”  Ms. Harry also stressed the role of parents.  “Don’t wait until they are 16 to talk to them about driving because that’s too late,” she said. “And once they get their licenses, don’t walk away and throw the keys on the table for them to go out. You have to work with them because they are still learning.”

Both agencies have tips for dealing with teen drivers on their websites at penndot.gov and teendriving.AAA.com.


Springtime brings rain and the aftereffects of winter weather — potholes and uneven pavement.

Keep these driving tips in mind before you travel:

  • Spring showers bring May flowers — and wet driving conditions: Slow down on slick roads, and increase your following distance even when mist begins to fall. Just a small amount of water can mix with oil and grease on the road to create slippery conditions.
  • Share the road: Warm weather brings out motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
  • Understand the impact of medications on driving: For many people, spring means seasonal allergies. Over-the-counter allergy drugs can have side effects or interact with other medications to diminish your driving ability.
  • If possible, go around potholes:
    Deep potholes can throw your car out of alignment or worse, forcing you to buy a new wheel and a new tire.
  • Avoid driving through large puddles: Driving through water can impair your brakes, cloud your vision, or cause you to hydroplane.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated: Full tires can reduce the damage caused by potholes and other road hazards.


PARENTS: Encourage your teen (and their friends) to log on today! Gain more confidence in your own child’s driving skills AND knowing that their friends have a better understanding behind the wheel because they went through the Academy! It’s Free and is just a little time that’s worth their life!

neighfordstore 4c jpg Taking The Lead: Ford Driving Skills For Life

alleghenycountypretrialservices Taking The Lead: Ford Driving Skills For Life

ccsodcarlogo Taking The Lead: Ford Driving Skills For Life



Your school could be next! Use the form above to let us know today!

KDKA-TV, Neighborhood Ford Store, Governors Highway Safety Association, Allegheny County Pretrial Services and the Cindy Cohen School of Driving are Taking the Lead to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities related to teen driving in our community. We are dedicated to saving lives. Learn as much as you can… It’s FUN and FREE!

For immediate information, please contact Laura Stephen at: Stephen@kdka.com

ford driving skills logo 2017 Taking The Lead: Ford Driving Skills For Life


2017-2018 School Assemblies

West Mifflin Area High School, 550 students (October 2017)
North Allegheny High School, 670 students (November 2017)
Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School, 500 students (December 2017)
Kiski Area High School, 300 students (January 2018)
Uniontown Area High School, 400 students (February 2018)
Burgettstown Area High School, 300 students (March 2018)
Seneca Valley Senior High School, 565 students (April 2018)
Laurel High School, 200 students (May 2018)

2016-2017 School Assemblies
Central Valley Senior High School, 350 students (September 2016)
Leechburg Jr-Sr High School, 130 students (October 2016)
Serra Catholic High School, 350 students (November 2016)
A.W. Beattie Career Center, 300 students (December 2016)
McKeesport Area High School, 500 students (January 2017)
Peters Township High School, 370 students (February 2017)
Sto-Rox High School, 200 students (March 2017)
Apollo-Ridge High School, 270 students (April 2017)
Perry Traditional Academy, 100 students (May 2017)

2015-2016 School Assemblies
Quaker Valley High School, 300 students (September 2015)
Hempfield Area High School, 500 students (October 2015)
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School, 185 students (November 2015)
Upper St. Clair High School, 375 students (December 2015)
Steel Valley High School, 380 students (January 2016)
Riverview Junior Senior High School, 150 students (February 2016)
Woodland Hills Junior Senior High School, 100 students (March 2016)
McGuffey High School, 375 students (April 2016)
Geibel Catholic Junior-Senior High School, 110 students (May 2016)

2014-2015 School Assemblies
Deer Lakes High School, 325 students (September 2014)
Bethel Park High School, 400 students (October 2014)
Brashear High School, 300 students (November 2014)
Leechburg Jr/Sr High School, 177 students (December 2014)
Highlands High School, 400 students (January 2015)
West Allegheny High School, 485 students (March 2015 – makeup for Feb. ’15)
Trinity High School, 270 students (March 2015)
Avonworth  High School, 200 students (April 2015)
Blackhawk High School, 200 students (May 2015)

2013-2014 School Assemblies
Keystone Oaks High School, 300 students (September 2013)
Ambridge Senior High School, 400 students (October 2013)
Trinity Christian School, 125 students (November 2013)
West Greene High School, 140 students (December 2013)
*January assembly moved to March due to weather
The Ellis School, 147 students (February 2014)
Chartiers Valley High School, 350 students (March 2014)
Beth Center Senior High School, 220 students (March 2014 – makeup from Jan’14)
Frazier High School, 280 students (April 2014)
Ringgold High School, 350 students (May 2014)

2012-2013 School Assemblies
Greensburg Central Catholic High School, 200 students (September 2012)
North Catholic High School, 107 students (October 2012)
Yough Senior High School, 380 students (November 2012)
Montour High School, 270 students (December 2012)
Lawrence County Career & Technical Center, 375 students (January 2013)
Lincoln High School, 280 students (February 2013)
Kiski Area High School, 325 students – (March 2013)
Slippery Rock High School, 320 students – (April 2013)
Valley High School, 285 students (May 2013)

2011-2012 School Assemblies
Seton-LaSalle Catholic High School, 250 students (Sept’11)
New Brighton Area High School, 275 students (Oct’11)
Penn Hills High School, 325 students (Nov’11)
Cornell High School, 165 students (Dec’11)
Derry Area High School, 370 students (Jan’12)
Mars Area High School, 500 students (Feb’12)
Steel Valley High School, 300 students (Mar’12)
Belle Vernon High School, 415 students (Apr’12)
Franklin Regional High School, 325 students (May’12)

2010-2011 School Assemblies:
Elizabeth Forward High School, 500 students (Oct’10)
Thomas Jefferson High School, 230 students (Nov’10)
Pine-Richland High School, 360 students (Nov’10)
Seneca Valley High School, 575 students (Dec’10)
South Park High School, 300 students (Jan’11)
Perry Traditional Academy, 270 students (Feb’11)
Moon Area High School, 600 students (Mar’11)
Washington High School, 235 students (April ’11)
West Mifflin High School, 600 students (May’11)

2009-2010 School Assemblies:
Shaler Area High School, 450 students (Sept. ’09)
W. Pa. School for the Deaf, 80 students (Oct. ’09)
Albert Gallatin High School, 400 students (Nov. ’09)
Hopewell High School, 500 students (Dec. ’09)
Vincentian Academy, 110 students (Jan. ’10)
Allderdice High School, 340 students (Feb. ’10)
Plum Senior High School, 320 students (March ’10)

2008-2009 School Assemblies
Peters Twp. HS, 800 students attended (Sept. ’08)
Oakland Catholic HS, 300 students (Oct. ’08)
Franklin Area HS, 550 students (Nov. ’08)
Beaver Falls HS, 300 students (Dec. ’08)
January’s assembly was cancelled due to weather/testing
Bethlehem Center HS, 350 students (Feb. ’09)
Northgate HS, 230 students (March’09)
Carlynton HS, 300 students (April ’09)
Baldwin HS, 370 students (May ’09)