NEW DELHI, INDIA - With New Year, India usually sees a spike in road accidents, with hundreds dead or left injured. As a leading automaker, Ford India has stepped up its efforts towards creating safer roads in India, offering free training under its Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) program.

Ford India’s Driving Skills for Life program is finding increasing acceptance among customers and other driving groups across the country, with 3,071 people trained this year. A mix of classroom and practical training sessions, the program aims to promote safe, economic, and eco-friendly driving across the sub-continent. Several driver groups underwent as many as 85 sessions, conducted across India, including in New Delhi, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai, in 2012.

“Safe is one of the key brand pillars for Ford and it’s a mindset when we build cars, at our manufacturing sites or raising awareness on road sense. With the DSFL program we intend to sensitize Indian drivers to make our roads safer and this training shows them how they too can be a safe, responsible and environment-friendly driver,” said Vinay Piparsania, Ford India's executive director, Marketing, Sales and Service. “This is a robust program that benefits from insights gained from our expertise in this industry and other regional markets, and we are committed to bring it to more people in India in the days ahead.”

In 2012, the program reached varied audiences, including customers, corporate employees from companies such as Genpact and HSBC, college students, and other special groups such as members of Chandigarh Press Club and defence personnel.

Ford India has also launched the ‘I Pledge to Drive Safe’ campaign on its Facebook page. This has enabled the company to actively engage with various social media audiences and take the momentum further by taking pledges and sharing their driving tips, and engaging conversations around safe driving.

Launched in August 2009, more than 7,000 people have successfully completed the DSFL training in India. Next year, the program aims to enroll more drivers, including those in tier two and three cities and towns of India and spread the message of safe driving further.

Ford DSFL now is in its fifth year training newly licensed drivers in Asia, with programs in China, India, Taiwan, South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia. DSFL programs are tailored in each of these markets to reflect the local driving environment and road conditions. So far, over 60,000 drivers have participated in the program across Asia. In 2011, Ford's Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) won a regional CSR prize at the Holmes Report’s first ever Asia-Pacific SABRE Awards.