Young driving program aimed at reducing fatal Illinois car accidents involving teenagers

Seven schools have been named winners of the 2010 Operation Teen Safe Driving Program, a state initiative aimed at reducing the number of fatal Illinois car accidents involving teenagers.

While graduated driver’s licenses and other teen safety initiatives have reduced traffic fatalities in recent years, fatal traffic accidents involving teenagers in Illinois have increased slightly thus far this year. Through March 26, a total of 18 teenagers, ages 16 to 19, died in traffic accident, compared to 15 during the same period a year ago.

Fatal motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers ages 15 to 20, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

About 1 in 7 fatal crashes nationwide involves a driver under the ages of 20. In 2008, 5,864 teens were among the 36,261 motorists who died in traffic accidents nationwide. In Illinois, 164 teens were killed in traffic accidents that year. Alabama, California, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas reported more teen deaths than did Illinois.

Illinois has been recognized for its proactive measures to improve teen safety, including the Graduated Driver Licensing Law, which became effective Jan. 1, 2008. The law gives teens additional supervision behind the wheel and requires that they earn their way from one stage to the next by avoiding traffic convictions.

“The improved graduated driver licensing (GDL) law that resulted from the recommendations of the Teen Driver Safety Task Force makes Illinois’ teen driver program one of the strongest in the nation and, more importantly, is saving lives,” said Secretary of State Jesse White. “Working together, we can save more lives and make Illinois roads safer for all of us.”

Winners of this year’s program are Oak Forest High School, Gardner South Wilmington High School, Farmington High School, Pekin High School, Oakland High School, Chester High School and Patoka High School.

The program encourages high school students to use their creativity and imagination in developing programs aimed at educating their peers on the dangers of unsafe driving.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident, contact the Chicago car accident attorneys and the personal injury and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.