Jesse Whiteteendriving kicked off National Teen Driver Safety Week on Oct. 15, 2017 by announcing that teen driving deaths have decreased by 51 percent in less than 10 years.

The graduated driver’s license program in Illinois was strengthened when the Teen Driver Safety Task Force was established in 2008 with the goal of decreasing the number of teen deaths in Illinois.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, graduated licenses reduce teens’ driving risks by allowing teens to practice driving with supervision before getting their full- license and limiting in-car distractions. In Illinois, the new graduated licensing laws restricted hours of night driving for teenagers and the number of passengers that drivers under 20 can have in their car. Today, all states have some foundations of the GDL program.

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Dan RyanA recent report from the National Safety Council ranks Illinois as the top state in the nation for road safety. The State of Safety report focuses on eight categories, including: distracted driving impaired driving, seat belt usage, child passengers, older drivers, speeding, teen drivers and vulnerable road users.

Illinois’ top grade on road safety would not have been possible without the work and commitment of Senate President John Cullerton, who has championed traffic safety legislation over the past 30 years.

The Senate President began working to improve road safety early in his career when he sponsored the Child Passenger Protection Act in 1983. This law required children under age 4 to use child safety seats in cars. This legislation was later updated in 2003 to extend protections to children under the age of 8 with the addition of a booster seat requirement. To learn more about child passenger safety laws, click here.

Soon after that, the Senate President sponsored legislation to require front-seat passengers in cars to wear seat belts. At the time, just over 15 percent of passengers used seat belts. Now, that number has climbed to 94 percent. The Senate President expanded this legislation in 2011, when he sponsored a bill to require passengers in the back seat of vehicles to wear seat belts as well.

To combat the rising number of teen deaths and car accidents, in 2007, the Senate President helped implement graduated licenses for teens. Under this legislation, teens progress through a series of tiered driving restrictions as they gain more experience.

While serving as the Senate President, legislation to curb distracted driving was implemented. In the time it takes to look at a text message, a car traveling at 55 miles per hour will cover the length of a football field. Since 2014, driving while using a phone is a ticketable offense. Drivers are still able to use hands-free features on their phones and one-touch dialing.

These important pieces of legislation have saved countless lives and contributed to Illinois’ recognition for having the safest roads in the U.S.

seatbelt

Illinoisans seem to be growing ever more mindful of safety as they hit the road this summer.

A recent study by the Illinois Department of Transportation said the rate of front-seat seatbelt usage this year is at 95.2 percent, a 1.1 percent increase from last year’s previous high of 94.1 percent. Illinois has required drivers and front-seat passengers to fasten their safety belts since 1985.

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il-roadsCreating new road signs in Illinois means making sure to reuse old ones as part of an ongoing sustainability program.

The Illinois Department of Transportation’s Highway Sign Shop in Springfield recycles 45,000 to 50,000 highway signs each year, conserving about 427,500 pounds of aluminum annually. The process has saved the state about $600,000 a year since 2001.

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Illinois has toughest teen driving laws, ranked third safest in the nation for teen drivers

Parents: Maybe don't worry so much.

A new study by research firm WalletHub ranked the safety of teen drivers by state in 2014. Illinois ranked third behind Hawaii and New York, and tied with New York for the most comprehensive licensing laws for teens just getting behind the wheel.

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