In safety as well as in travel, Ford Group Philippines knows no boundaries. In April 2004, it began its drive to promote road safety via its Road Safety Campaign, unveiling a Road Safety Billboard along the Balibago/Tagaytay road as part of Ford Motor Company's global efforts to reinforce its commitment to occupant and pedestrian safety through events and initiatives aimed at reducing accidents, death and injuries caused by road traffic collisions. Recently the automotive manufacturer stepped up its drive to make, Philippine roads safe for both motorists and pedestrians alike with a bevy of projects, most notably the Road Safety Fund and the RIDE (Responsibility In Driver Education) Program.

Money for safety

Starting March 15, 2005, Ford Group Philippines will donate Php 1,000 to a Road Safety Fund for every Ford and Mazda vehicle sold in the country. The fund will be used to educate drivers and promote road safety in the Philippines, which may include training programs, research and studies on different aspects of road safety and other identified road safety projects.

Go along for a RIDE

The maiden project that the aforementioned fund will support is the RIDE program, bringing the awareness on the importance of road safety to high school and college classrooms, to Ford dealerships and customers and to Ford clubs and the general public. The program is a comprehensive road safety educational program designed to educate today's drivers and future drivers, tailor-fit to specific audiences.

RIDE sessions for students include topics such as driving accident facts, road signs and common traffic violations, defensive driving, road hazards, driving etiquette and techniques, car conditions and understanding vehicle safety features.

As part of the RIDE and Ford's Road Safety Campaign, Ford dealerships will ensure that each Ford customer accepting delivery of his/her new vehicle will be provided an orientation on the vehicle's safety features and will be given an explanation as to how the said features can save lives. Ford Safety Firsts exhibit panels will also be seen in dealerships to showcase Ford's leadership in safety innovation, as well as the promotion of safety accessories such as child safety seats.

At the Ford plant in Santa Rosa (Laguna), Ford employees will also take part in various road safety activities such as defensive driving courses for all authorized drivers in Ford Group Philippines and the installation of a Road Safety bulletin board, carrying a road signs and traffic violations to further educate employees. Road safety tips and reminders will be made part of regular meeting sessions.

Finally, Ford will cap 2005 with its annual Ford Day, which will once again be themed on road safety. Ford Day activities will include various road safety workshops on how Ford's safety features work, focusing on traffic violations and road signs. In addition, Ford Day 2005 will also showcase road safety fun and games enjoyable for the whole family and will invite road safety experts to take part in the annual event.

Links and rallying points

Ford also aims to link its road safety initiatives with related government agencies and private organizations, such as the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher EDucation (CHED), the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO), in order to spread the gospel of road safety to more people, including areas outside Metro Manila.

All these events are linked with Ford's continuing partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), specifically the said organization's World Health Day Celebration devoted to Road Safety. "As one of the world's leading automotive manufacturers/corporate citizens, we would like to do our share to promote road safety," said Henry Co, Ford Group Philippines president.

Mr. Co pointed out the recent and untimely demise of Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP) head (and 2004 Henry Ford awards judge) Tony Mapa - in a car accident on his way to work in Bacolod - as a rallying point to reinforce and signify why Ford's Road Safety Campaign is extremely important.

"Initial reports claimed that while cruising along an open road in the early hours of the morning, a light truck with only one working headlight slammed into his vehicle and killed him on the spot. This accident only goes to show that no one is spared from the very real dangers that lurk behind every responsible driver, every broken headlight, every unbuckled seatbelt or every unlighted or poorly-lit road," said Mr. Co.