Driving instructors

Safe Driving Program allows students to share vital road safety messages

LANSING — Students at every high school in Michigan have the opportunity to make a difference in their communities and help their fellow teens become better drivers by participating in this year’s Strive for a Safer Drive (S4SD) campaign.

Entering its 11th year, S4SD is a joint effort between the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning and Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford. The aim of the campaign is to reduce the main cause of death among adolescents: road accidents. In 2020, teens and young adults ages 15-20 accounted for 7.3% (79) of all Michigan road deaths, with 51.9% (41) of those deaths being the driver.

Risky and dangerous behaviors, such as excessive speed or distracted driving, and inexperience are major contributing factors to teen driver deaths.

The S4SD campaign encourages teens to talk to other teens and community members to make safe driving choices. Schools will develop and implement a student-led and peer-to-peer road safety awareness campaign.

Campaign topics can include speed, seat belts, pedestrian, cyclist and passenger safety as well as impaired driving, distraction, night and winter.

Participating schools will each receive $1,000 to run their campaign. Once the projects are complete, student teams from each school will submit a video or PowerPoint describing their campaign. Schools with the top five winning campaigns will receive cash prizes ranging from $500 to $1,500.

As part of the Ford Fund’s commitment to the campaign, all participating schools will have the opportunity to send students to a free Ford Driving Skills for Life hands-on clinic next spring. Professional driving instructors from across the country will teach teens key skills such as hazard recognition, speed and space management, and driving the vehicle with hands-on instruction. A station highlighting the dangers of distracted and impaired driving will also be taught.

Since S4SD’s inception in 2011, 173 different high schools in Michigan have participated in the program. OHSP has partnered with the Transportation Improvement Association to coordinate S4SD program activities. For more information on S4SD, visit michigan.gov/S4SD.