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. 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.

KDKA-TV, in partnership with Neighborhood Ford Store, Governors Highway Safety Association and Allegheny County Pretrial Services 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 introduces this one-hour presentation to a different area high school each month, along with a panel of experts for Q&A with the students. It’s an in-person, interaction with students about safe driving tips.

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!


Back To School Teen Driving Risks, Statistics, and Suggestions

With school back in session, there are more drivers on the roads. Of these drivers, many are teenagers. Teenage driving comes with a higher risk than any other age group. Car crashes remain the number one cause of death among teens. These statistics will not scare your teen away from wanting to drive. Instead, it is better to use these facts as the stimulus behind the importance of setting boundaries with your teenage driver. The key dangers for high school drivers are passengers, drugs & alcohol, curfews, cell phones, and seatbelts.

• Passengers: The probability for a teen related crash dramatically increases with each teen passenger or sibling. Carpooling is not suggested amongst teenage high school drivers. While under 18 years of age, teenage drivers, by law, are only permitted to drive with one passenger in the vehicle, that is not a direct relative to the teen.

• Drugs & Alcohol: Thirty percent of drivers ages 16-20 who died in motor vehicle crashes had been drinking. Parents must demand a NO TOLERANCE agreement. Make your teen aware that no one can drink and drive safely. Be sure to inquire with your highschoolers doctor about any prescribed medications that may affect driving abilities.

• Curfew: The highest crash rates occur during nighttime hours. Most fatal crashes occur during twilight or darkness. Drivers under the age of 18 in Pennsylvania are not permitted to drive between 11:00 PM and 5:00 AM, by law (exceptions made for employment and charitable work). It is important for parents to make a pact with their teens about driving when tired and giving a space cushion with time (so they do not feel rushed when driving if running late).

• Seatbelts: Of the teens (aged 16-19) who died in passenger vehicle crashes, in 2017 at least 48% were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. Parents should set an example for their teenage drivers. High schoolers that have upfront communication with their parents about risky behavior are more likely to care about safety. Everyone, Every Drive, Every time.

• Cellphones/Distracted Driving: Teens who do not use a seatbelt are more probable to say they text while driving than those who do. The most frequent type of crash for 16-year-old drivers is a single-vehicle, run-off-the-road-crash. More often than not, the cause of these crashes is distracted driving. The best way, as a parent, to prevent these crashes is to set a good example, hold them accountable by making boundaries and consequences, and keeping lines of communication open with their friend’s parents.

It is crucially important that teenage drivers do not feel alone during their first years of driving. Practice driving with them during each season and time of day, even once they’ve received their license. This gives an opportunity to make corrections within their driving, build confidence, and speak on important matters of a high school driver. Your teen driver may be eager to become fully independent during this stage of life, but this is the time when it is most important to embrace strict boundaries. Remember, safety always trumps convenience and perception.

(Source: Cindy Cohen School of Driving, LLC.)


Fall brings rain and leaves on the roads, leaving slick road conditions.

Keep these driving tips in mind before you travel:

  • 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: Watch for school buses, bus stops, and pedestrians.
  • Understand the impact of medications on driving: It’s flu season. 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 teenager’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!

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alleghenycountypretrialservices 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 and Allegheny County Pretrial Services 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 w sponsors 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)