Ford and Sime Darby Auto Connexion (SDAC), its distribution partner in Malaysia, recently launched and conducted its flagship safe driver training programme in Sabah. The Ford Driving Skills For Life (DSFL) programme is part of the brand’s efforts to promote safe driving behaviour and road safety awareness in Malaysia.
A total of four training sessions were organised over a weekend in mid-November, which were held in conjunction with the ‘Carlist.my DRIVE: Off-road Edition 2019’ event, to allow the public to learn about the DSFL programme and to gain safe-driving information.
The DSFL programme is free-of-charge for the participants as it aims to raise awareness of road safety, and aid in the reduction of traffic fatalities and injuries, by helping educate drivers on the skills and techniques needed to drive more safely.
Over 80 Ford customers and members of the public participated in a half-day workshop which consisted of both classroom and practical hands-on sessions. The classroom and practical sessions took place at SDAC Kota Kinabalu and Likas Stadium respectively.
Malaysia has one of the highest vehicle ownership rates in the region.  And while East Malaysia has fewer vehicles on the road, sadly, fatal road accidents are on the rise, with non-compliance to traffic and road safety regulations considered the main contributing factor. 
“At Ford and SDAC, we are committed to equipping Malaysians with safe driving knowledge, and that’s why we have decided to bring this programme to East Malaysia,” said Syed Ahmad Muzri Syed Faiz, Managing Director, Sime Darby Auto ConneXion. “Ford’s DSFL programme provides the know-how to help drivers understand a number of unpredictable scenarios that could happen on the road, while also equipping them with the tools to tackle potentially dangerous situations accordingly.”
The workshops addressed various driver risks with training focused on four main areas:
- Distractions – Making smart decisions behind the wheel to limit distractions such as mobile phone usage, and staying focused on the task of driving
- Hazard recognition – How to scan the road ahead for potential dangers, particularly when approaching intersections and safety zones
- Speed and space management – Learning how to adjust speed to maintain safe space around, ahead, and behind a vehicle while avoiding being rear-ended
- Vehicle handling – Understanding the vehicle’s capability and learning to better control it by leveraging its safety features such as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Semi-Automatic Parallel Parking (SAPP), Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning
An emphasis on the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol or medication was also incorporated into the programme. This included having participants wear specially designed goggles that help simulate the experience of driving while movement, coordination, and alertness are impaired.
According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, around 1.35 million people lose their lives in road accidents each year, while between 20 and 50 million others suffer non-fatal injuries, with many incurring a disability.  Worryingly, WHO’s statistics indicate that road traffic injuries are currently the leading cause of death in the world for children and young adults aged between 5-29.
Now in its 16th year, Ford Driving Skills for Life has provided free training to more than one million newly-licensed drivers in 40 countries, which equates to an investment of over $50 million, highlighting Ford’s commitment to promoting safety on the road.