Ill. Lawmakers Toughen Graduated Teen Licensing with New Provisions

May 25, 2007

Some are already calling the new provisions to the teen graduated drivers licensing law passed by the Illinois legislature as the toughest in the country.

The measure, SB 172, passed by the Illinois legislature, addresses two of the critical provisions studies have shown are most effective in reducing vehicle crashes among teen drivers – increased supervised driving and additional nighttime driving restrictions according to the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC), an insurance trade group representing insurers nationwide.

“Since the mid-1990s, state lawmakers have been enacting graduated driver license (GDL) laws in an attempt to curb the number one killer of teenagers in the United States – motor vehicle accidents,” said Terri Stanton, NAMIC’s Midwest State Affairs manager. “Multiple studies have shown how effective GDL laws are in saving teen lives. Additionally, a national Gallup Organization poll released by Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Nationwide Insurance in April 2006 showed 81 percent of the respondents supported graduated driver’s licensing for teens, up from 76 percent in 2000.”

The Illinois legislature is commended on passing an important safety measure and NAMIC urges Gov. Blagojevich to sign SB 172 that passed the House, 115-0, and the Senate, 54-2, Stanton said.

Some of the key new provisions are: that the learners permit stage now 3 months would become 9 months; 50 hours of parent supervised driving time is now required; night driving restrictions would change for Sunday through Thursday to a 10 p.m. curfew and Friday through Saturday to a 11 p.m. curfew; six hours of supervised driving accepted only on “real street”–no simulators; number of passengers in car when teen is driving is one and that restriction is in effect for one year.

Other insurance groups also support the tougher provisions saying it saves lives.

“This is a terrific piece of legislation and we’re very pleased it has passed,” said Greg Heidrich, senior vice president – Policy Development and Research for the Des Plaines, Ill.-based Property Casualty Insurers Association of American (PCI). “Illinois now has the strongest teen driving laws in the nation and sets an example for other states and communities across the country.”

Heidrich said that the most important thing to know is that these laws work. In California, adopting stronger teen driving laws cut teenager involvement in car crashes by 23 percent and reduced nighttime crash rates by 27 percent.

“Whenever these laws are adopted, we see a reduction in teenagers’ accidents, injuries, and deaths. Car crashes are the leading cause of death among American teenagers, accounting for more than one-third of all deaths of 16 to18 year olds,” Heinrich said.

If Gov.Blagojevich signs the legislation most of the measures would be effective Jan.1, 2008. The street driving requirement for public school driver education would start July 1, 2008.

Source: NAMIC, PCI

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