Secretary of State Jesse White kicked off National Teen Driver Safety Week by announcing teen driving deaths are down by nearly 60 percent in Illinois, a new low since Illinois’ nationally recognized Graduated Driver Licensing program took effect in 2008.
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were 155 teen driving deaths in 2007. Since White’s efforts with the GDL law, teen driving fatalities have decreased significantly to 66 deaths in 2014, a drop of more than 57 percent.
“I am pleased this law is working as we intended,” White said. “Our goal all along was to save lives. When I first convened the Teen Driver Safety Task Force, we knew we faced a difficult mission. Automobile crashes were the leading cause of death for teens. While too many teens are still dying on our roads, we can take some solace that far fewer teens have died in crashes since we strengthened our GDL program.”
Illinois’ GDL program better prepares novice, teen drivers by giving them more time to obtain valuable driving experience while under the watchful eye of a parent or guardian, limiting in-car distractions, and requiring teens to earn their way from one stage to the next by avoiding traffic convictions. White emphasized the important roles that parents, high schools and driver education instructors play in preparing safe and responsible teen drivers. State and national traffic safety organizations have praised Illinois’ stronger GDL program as one of the best in the nation.
Illinois’ comprehensive GDL program has worked since the first year it was implemented, and its success at reducing teen driving deaths has continued. The following statistics from IDOT chronicle the program’s impact on saving lives:
2007: 155 (before GDL program)
To learn more about the state’s GDL program, visit www.cyberdriveillinois.com.