To the Editor:
In 2015, nearly 2,000 teen drivers were involved in fatal traffic crashes nationwide. Almost 100,000 teen passengers or drivers were injured in motor vehicle collisions, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Excessive speed, impaired driving, and distracted driving were common factors in these crashes.
Illinois has done its part to reduce these numbers by banning hand-held mobile devices behind the wheel, and instituting a Graduated Driver Licensing system that gives teenagers more supervised driving time before full licensure. But motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of teen deaths, and tougher laws alone cannot prevent the tragic loss of young lives from motor vehicle accidents.
The Illinois Insurance Association (IIA) and its members support safe driving initiatives such as the NHTSA’s “5 to Drive” campaign. 5 to Drive offers tips for talking with teens about driving habits, and highlights five safe driving practices: 1) No drinking and driving; 2) No distracted driving; 3) No extra passengers; 4) No speeding; 5) Consistent seatbelt use.
Parents can also foster roadway safety by learning about Illinois’ Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) law and reinforcing its system of restrictions and consequences, including increasing freedom for teens who follow the rules and drive without violations.
It’s going to take a collaborative effort to save the lives of teen drivers and their passengers. IIA will continue to support safe teen driving initiatives not only in the month of October, but all year long.
Kevin J. Martin
Illinois Insurance Association