The early dawn of a New Year brings scores of festive moments around the globe. Well, India is also not an exception. However, sometimes this merry-mood gets a beating by the tragic road accidents caused drunken or rash driving that leaves hundreds dead or seriously injured in this country. To put a tight leash around the neck of this callous attitude of some merrymakers, Ford India has embarked upon the arena to offer the brand’s tried and tested; service with a human touch.
There is a startling fact about the road casualties in India. As per a report compiled by Society for Automotive Fitness & Environment (SAFE), a sister concern of Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), dealing with road safety “India is losing the most productive people in road accidents as 80 per cent of victims are in the age group of 15 to 40 – a loss which an emerging economic power like India cannot afford.” In this backdrop, the noble cause of Ford India is quite commendable.
As a leading carmaker, Ford India has stepped up its efforts towards creating safer roads in India. As part of its commitment to promote a better driving community, it offers free training under its Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) program.
Ford India which has established a firm root in the country has decided not to seat idle but performing its part in saving India’s young generation from road rage. To move forward in this praiseworthy direction, the company has designed Driving Skills for Life program, which has already started to gain growing level of acceptance among customers and other driving groups across the country, with 3,071 people trained this year. Backed with a combination of classroom and practical training sessions, the initiative eyes at fostering safe, economic and eco-friendly driving across the sub-continent. Several driver groups have already gone through 85 sessions, conducted across India in major places like New Delhi, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai, this year.
Speaking about the motto of the initiative, Vinay Piparsania, Ford India's executive director, Marketing, Sales and Service, said: “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.” Further emphasising upon Ford India’s commitment in this regard, Piparsania added: “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.”
This year, the program of Ford India has taken into its fold wide range of audience groups, including customers, employees of corporate giants like Genpact and HSBC, college students and other special groups such as members of Chandigarh Press Club and defence personnel.
“Undoubtedly, this is an informative programme for both new and seasoned drivers that busts many myths and makes us aware about safe driving. Thanks to Ford for passionately espousing this noble cause,” said Sukhbir Singh Bajwa, President of the Press Club.
To reduce accident rates in India, Ford India has also published ‘First Gear,’ a must-have handbook for the first-time car buyer that is packed with rich information and handy tips on how to choose a car and how to become a safe driver.
Ford India has also kick-started the ‘I Pledge to Drive Safe’ campaign on its Facebook page. This has enabled the car major to build a strong bridge with several social media audiences and carry the thrust ahead by taking pledges and sharing their driving tips, and engaging conversations focussing on safe driving.
Launched in August 2009, more than 7000 people have successfully completed the DSFL training of Ford India in the country. Next year, the program aims to cover more drivers, including those in tier two and three cities and towns of India and spread the message of safe driving further.
Ford DSFL has entered in its fifth year training initiative covering newly licensed drivers in Asia, with programs in China, India, Taiwan, South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia. DSFL programs of Ford India are excellently customised in each of these markets to suit the local driving environment and road conditions. So far, in excess of 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.
Ford India’s Executive Director, Tom Chackalackal and DSFL evangelist Minnie Menon (centre) pledge their support to the ‘I Pledge to Drive Safe’ in April, 2012
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