Highway Safety Institute Gives Illinois ‘Fair’ Rating on Teen Driving

June 16, 2006

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave Illinois a “fair” rating for the way it issues licenses to new drivers in an updated chart as of May 2006.

The Institute assigns licensing systems points for the key components of graduated licensing. Good systems scored 6 or more points. Fair systems scored 4 or 5 points. Marginal systems scored 2 or 3 points. Poor systems scored less than 2 points. Regardless of point totals, no state was rated above “marginal” if intermediate license holders could be younger than 16 or it allows unrestricted driving before age 16, 6 months.

Here’s a look at the institute’s optimal licensing system and how Illinois compares:

Optimal licensing system: minimum age for a learner’s permit: 16; hours of supervised driving: 30-50; minimum length of learner’s permit: six months; restrictions on driving until 18; restrictions, no driving from 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. until 5 a.m.; and no teen passengers or, at most, one.

Illinois licensing system: minimum age for a learner’s permit: 15, if enrolled in driver’s ed; hours of supervised driving: 25 (soon to become 50); minimum length of learner’s permit, three months; restrictions on driving until 17 for night driving; six months after license for passengers; restrictions for night driving ban begins at 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and midnight on Friday and Saturday, ending at 6 a.m.; no more than one passenger under age 20, family members are exempted.

Fourteen states were rated “fair” by the Institute. Midwestern states that were rated “fair” in addition to Illinois were: Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, and Missouri. Twenty-four state were given a “good” rating.

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