By Moses Akaigwe 08072100049
Following a successful and exciting debut in Nigeria in 2016, Driving Skills for Life (DSFL), a programme conceived by Ford Motor Company to improve road safety in various countries of the world, had an encore recently in Lagos, courtesy of the automaker’s representative, Coscharis Motors.
This year, the focus was on a special training session for members of the Nigeria Auto Journalists’ Association (NAJA) held at the Coscharis head office in Awoyaya, where the DSFL exercise featured driving on a 4×4 trail requiring the use of four-wheel drive, as well as a presentation on child safety in the car.
Resource persons from Ford South Africa, DSFL director, Derek Kirkby, and trainer, Motebang Mokoena, ran the programme, with the Ranger pickup, Focus sedan and the compact Figo, as demonstration vehicles.
The participants learned from the duo the features that the Ford Ranger offers, such as safety, departure angles, brake distance on gravel and anti-lock braking system (ABS) and how to use other four-wheel drive functions like traction control, locking differential and drive train.
With the use of the drunk-driving goggles that imitate a drunk driver and simulate how alcohol actually impairs driving skills, Kirkby and Mokoena also brought to the spotlight the pitfalls of drinking and driving.
At the event, NAJA, which is the umbrella body for all journalists covering the automobile and automotive industry, was commended for setting a good example by insisting that its members undergo annual training, which Ford’s DSFL has become part of.
DSFL was last year lauded by the Nigerian Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (NAMA) even as Ford and its distributor in Nigeria, Coscharis Motors, were applauded for the initiative.
“The members of NAJA are delighted that Ford has brought back road safety training in the form of its proven DSFL programme,” said Mike Ochonma, vice president of NAJA.
Earlier this year, the Federal Road Safety Commission said that 80 per cent of road accidents in the country were due to human factors such as speeding, dangerous overtaking and overloading.
“Against this background, Ford is very pleased to be able to offer its proven road safety tool in the form of the Driving Skills for Life programme,” remarked the general manager, marketing and corporate communications, Coscharis Motors, Abiona Babarinde.
“This time around, we are concentrating on working with motoring journalists and we trust they will transfer all their learning on the DSFL course to their readers and viewers to spread the importance of safe driving and road safety.”
Babarinde further stated that, “Road safety is a topic of global concern and particularly important here in Nigeria, where deaths and injuries from motor vehicle accidents are far too high. Motor journalists can play a vital role in educating Nigerian consumers about vehicle features that support safety. We hope that you all share the knowledge you learn today with your readers.”
He stressed that Ford and Coscharis were committed to growing the automotive industry in Nigeria, even as he explained that all forms of training were a major part of the brand’s work in Nigeria.
“The Ford Ranger is our flagship nameplate. It is locally assembled and is the current 2016 NAJA Pick-Up of the Year,” he said.
Ford launched DSFL in the United States in 2003 and the programme has been improved and adapted to suit local conditions in many other markets over the years. It was launched in South Africa in 2014, introduced in Angola in 2015, and last year it was rolled out in Nigeria, Uganda, and Kenya.