Operation Teen Safe Driving is a statewide initiative spearheaded by
the Illinois Department of Transportation's Division of Traffic
Safety. The program is augmented by crucial sponsorships from the
Ford Motor Company Fund and Allstate Foundation and enlists young
people to teach safe driving skills to their peers. This program has
helped Illinois achieve a dramatic 10 percent reduction in teen road
fatalities in the first seven months of 2009; teen fatalities
dropped from 50 in the first seven months of 2008 to 45 during the
same time period this year.
"We are very happy to work side by
side with students statewide to help continue to reduce teen road
fatalities," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig. "We
want the students who participate this year to take the program
seriously, get creative and realize the power they have to help save
Operation Teen Safe Driving engages high school students in a
competition to design community-based driver safety programs
targeted for other teens.
"I am pleased and encouraged that the number of teen fatal
crashes continues to drop since my Teen Driver Safety Task Force
issued recommendations that led to the strengthening of Illinois'
graduated driver licensing program," Secretary of State Jesse White
said. "During the first full year of the strengthened GDL program in
2008, teen fatalities dropped by 40 percent. In the first seven
months in 2009, the number of teen driving deaths dropped by 10
percent when compared to the same time frame in 2008. This statewide
program will continue to draw even more attention to the issue of
teen driving and to the new law by utilizing the creativity of teens
to develop effective safe driving messages for their peers."
A total of 97 high schools participated in the program during the
2008-2009 school year. Among the innovative ideas proposed by
students were safe driving poster contests, erecting billboards in
locations that have high levels of teen traffic, awarding prizes for
safe driving and participating in a demonstration where students try
to drive an obstacle course in a golf cart while text messaging.
Students also came up with slogans like "Could you live without me?"
"Don't Crack up, Buckle Up," and "Don't be a buried treasure, hook
on for life."
Operation Teen Safe Driving was modeled on the nationally
recognized Ford Motor Company Fund's
Driving Skills for
Life high school-based pilot project implemented in 2006 by the
Ford Motor Company Fund, the Governors Highway Safety Association,
IDOT, the Illinois State Police and local partners. This effort
halted an epidemic of 15 teen fatalities in Tazewell County in 2005
"The Ford Motor Company Fund is pleased to enter into our third
year of commitment to this lifesaving teen safe driving program,"
said Jim Vella, president of Ford Fund and Community Services, Ford
Motor Co. "Vehicle crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens in America,
and Operation Teen Safe Driving continues our ongoing commitment to
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Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services is committed to
creating opportunities that promote corporate citizenship,
philanthropy, volunteerism and cultural diversity for those who live
in the communities where Ford operates. Celebrating its 60th
anniversary in 2009 and made possible by funding from Ford Motor
Co., Ford Motor Company Fund supports initiatives and institutions
that foster innovative education, auto-related safety, and American
heritage and legacy. National programs include Ford Partnership for
Advanced Studies, which provides high school students with
academically rigorous 21st-century learning experiences, and Ford
Motor Company Fund's Driving Skills for Life, a teen-focused auto
Foundation is proud join forces again with IDOT and the Ford
Fund for the third year of Operation Teen Safe Driving, a program
that has helped to save the lives of so many teens here in Illinois.
Our goal is to ensure that we have an even greater impact this
year," said Linda Moynihan, regional sales leader for Allstate
Other state agencies involved in Operation Teen Safe Driving are
the Illinois State Police, the Illinois State Board of Education and
the Illinois Liquor Control Commission. Also backing the Illinois
campaign are national traffic safety groups, including the Governors
Highway Safety Association and RADD, "the Entertainment Industry's
Voice for Road Safety."
"The Illinois State Police understands the challenges teenagers
face as they begin driving," said ISP Director Jonathon E. Monken.
"The Operation Teen Safe Driving program is an excellent medium for
young drivers to use their creativity and innovation to reduce the
number of teen motor vehicle crashes and fatalities."
One of the leading issues in teen driver safety is underage
drinking. The Illinois Liquor Control Commission educates teens,
parents and educators about the consequences of teen drinking
through its "Don't Be Sorry" public education campaign to reduce
underage drinking. The commission offers its resources to the
students and schools as they develop their local safe-driving
Public and private high schools around the state are encouraged
to identify the major teen traffic safety problems in their
communities and propose creative solutions to those problems. High
schools that come up with the most creative solutions will be
invited to participate in the Ford Motor Company Fund's Driving
Skills for Life "Ride and Drive" safe-driving clinics at the end of
the school year. These events feature professional drivers giving
young drivers rigorous behind-the-wheel driving exercises, including
hazard recognition and accident avoidance, vehicle handling and skid
control, and speed and space management.
For more information about Operation Teen Safe Driving and
applications to participate in the effort, go to
Department of Transportation
file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]