Teen Safe Driving Program credited with reducing Chicago car accidents

With the school year beginning, state officials are launching the 4th Annual Teen Safe Driving Program in an effort to reduce Chicago car accidents and traffic accidents involving teenagers elsewhere in Illinois.

The Illinois Department of Transportation announced that U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined state officials on Friday in launching the program, which has become a model for other states seeking to reduce the risks associated with poor teen driving decisions.”In 2008, teens formed the largest proportion of distracted drivers in fatal crashes,” said Secretary LaHood. “Texting and talking on cell phones may feel like second nature to a tech-savvy generation, but the truth is, no one can talk or text while driving safely. I commend these young leaders and Operation Teen Safe Driving for helping to keep teens drivers safe.”

As we reported recently on our Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, officials are urging teens to submit a public service announcement aimed at the dangers of texting and driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 6,000 drivers are killed and more than 500,000 are injured each year in accidents caused by distracted driving.

Operation Teen Safe Driving is a statewide initiative sponsored by Ford Motor Company. It encourages teens to share safe-driving skills with their friends. The program has reached more than a quarter million students in the last three years.

Together with the state’s Graduated Driver Licensing Program, the state has reduced teen fatalities by about 50 percent, according to the Illinois State Police.

“We are proud to launch the fourth year of the Operation Teen Safe Driving Program with the nation’s most prominent traffic safety advocate, US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig. “The Operation Teen Safe Driving (OTSD) Program has produced exemplary results across the state as it has helped cut teen fatalities by nearly half since 2006. IDOT is committed to teen safe driving and looks forward to a continued positive impact by this program.”

Any Illinois high school, public or private, is invited to apply. Students are asked to identify major traffic safety issues involving teenagers in their communities and to make creative proposals to help solve those problems.

Here is the online application for Operation Teen Safe Driving.

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