A perpetual issue in Philippine motoring is the abysmal lack of driver education. In a country where anyone can get a driver’s license without being properly trained and tested, road accidents are about as common as a John Lloyd Cruz billboard. Last year, a Waze survey voted our republic as the very worst place in the world for driving. You can’t get any more Third World than that.
For its part, the government is now collaborating with reputable driving schools in creating a mandatory training course for license applicants. But even if this pushes through, one has to wonder if it will ever be enough. After all, they’re only looking to educate new drivers—what about the existing, incompetent ones?
Thankfully, one automotive company is doing its humble share in teaching road safety to countless motorists all across the archipelago. Ford Philippines has been conducting its “Driving Skills For Life” program since 2008, and claims to have already trained more than 20,000 drivers, including its customers, public-utility vehicle drivers and traffic officers.
Done in partnership with Tuason Racing School—the same group that famously teaches celebrities and executives to race cars in the Vios Cup—the DSFL program is the American automaker’s corporate social responsibility effort toward a safer motoring environment. It is essentially a crash course in driving, consisting of a lecture and a hands-on session. Lessons focus on basic road courtesy and fundamental traffic signs and regulations. Best of all, this program is free for all interested participants.
Originally held in Metro Manila, the DSFL program has now been brought to the provinces like Pampanga, Batangas, Cebu and Davao. It has been taught to bus, jeepney and taxicab drivers to help improve commuting safety for our countrymen. Even ride-sharing company Uber has sent 700 of its drivers to attend the class, according to Ford.
Of all the CSR programs being hyped by automotive manufacturers, we appreciate this one the most because its benefits can be tangibly felt by all of us—motorists and nonmotorists alike. We hope Ford continues this. We don’t care if it’s 100, 20, five, even one driver participating. A single enlightened motorist could mean one fewer accident on the road.