Learning Together: Both Men and Women at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Benefit from First Ever Co-Ed Driving Skills for Life in Saudi Arabia


Posted on 04 Jul. 2019

  • King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) last week hosted Ford’s award-winning global initiative for newly-licensed drivers, holding the female-focused Driving Skills for Life for Her simultaneously
  • Last year, Ford began offering Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) for Her, a specially-designed programme to accommodate Saudi females embarking on their first journey as licensed drivers
  • Throughout the Middle East and Africa, more than 1,600 new drivers benefitted from DSFL in 2018, making it the most successful year to date in the region for Ford’s globally-renowned programme

Ford’s Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) delivered another first for Saudi Arabia last week, when the award-winning safe driving programme visited the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Thuwal, to deliver the first ever programme for both the men and women on campus.

In partnership with the Ford Motor Company Fund, the university hosted DSFL, addressing newly-licensed male drivers, whilst also hosting Ford’s unique DSFL for Her, created for women embarking on their first journey behind the wheel in the Kingdom. 

Ford Driving Skills for Life helps young drivers improve their skills in four key areas that are critical factors in more than 60 per cent of vehicle crashes: hazard recognition, vehicle handling, speed, and space management. 

Ford also reintroduced training for nighttime driving into the programme at KAUST, in which nearly 150 students and faculty members participated. Driving conditions are remarkably different and often notoriously difficult at night, when vision is reduced, hindering an ability to spot hazards, junctions, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

Crucially, Ford’s Driving Skills for Life programme also focuses heavily on distracted and impaired driving. According to Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organisation (SASO), more than 160,000* crashes in Saudi Arabia are caused by mobile phone use behind the wheel.

“To reach Vision 2030’s target of a year-over-year decrease in road fatalities, road users need to have instilled in them the best safe-driving practices,” said Simonetta Verdi, Director, Government and Community Relations, Ford Middle East and Africa. “Ford Driving Skills for Life helps provide just that.”

In efforts to further empower women, Ford Motor Company and Jeddah-based Effat University last year launched a special variation of Ford’s globally renowned and award-winning safe driving programme, Ford DSFL for Her. The programme was specially designed to accommodate Saudi female students embarking on their journey to acquire a driver’s licence, and, by the end of 2018, had trained more than 200 Saudi women.

Confirming an on-going and growing commitment to the region, and to newly-licensed female drivers in Saudi, Ford intends to offer a greater number of DSFL for Her sessions, with varying levels of driving ability and experiences, around the Kingdom. 

A signature programme of the Ford Fund, Driving Skills for Life is an international initiative for road safety created in cooperation with the Governors Highway Safety Association and a panel of safety experts. It captures newly-licensed drivers’ interest with free, hands-on courses that pair new drivers with professional instructors to focus on the issues and obstacles that cause crashes, including impaired and distracted driving. 

Now in its 16th year, Ford Driving Skills for Life has provided free real-world driver training in vehicles, or through its online academy, to more than one million newly-licensed drivers - including more than 4,000 students across the Middle East since 2013 - in more than 40 countries. In total, Ford has invested more than $50 million in initiatives globally as part of its long-standing commitment to promoting safety on the road.

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