"Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death among adolescents,"
White said. "Last summer, I formed a task force to address this very
serious problem and our mission was clear: to develop legislation
that will strengthen the Illinois GDL law and reduce fatal crashes
involving teen drivers.
"This legislation, based on the recommendations of my task force,
is proof of what can be accomplished when you put together a group
of intelligent, caring individuals with a strong desire to solve a
problem. But the greater result of their effort will be a reduction
in fatal crashes involving teen drivers in Illinois when these
recommendations become law."
White's task force, composed of legislators, traffic safety
experts, law enforcement officials, educators, judges and victim
advocates, held three public hearings in Springfield, Carterville
and Chicago to study proposals aimed at keeping teen drivers safe.
After listening to hours of testimony and reviewing several studies,
the committee released a final report that served as the basis for
legislation that would make the Illinois GDL program one of the most
comprehensive in the nation and a model for other states to follow.
State Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, is co-sponsoring the
"I want to compliment the Task Force on its hard work in moving
Illinois into the forefront of establishing the most productive and
effective driver's license program for our teens," Brady said. "One
of the reasons I became so involved in this and began discussing my
interest in this issue with Secretary White has to do with the fact
that I represent the greater part of Tazewell County, where 15 young
adults lost their lives in traffic accidents over a period of 15
months. This is a serious issue that needs serious attention."
The legislation includes the following provisions:
Extend the permit
phase from three months to nine months. This proposal will give
the novice driver more time to learn under the watchful eye of
parents through a variety of weather conditions common
nighttime driving restriction from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m. on
weekdays and from midnight to 11 p.m. on weekends for all
drivers under the age of 18 and those who fail to graduate from
the initial licensing phase. This nighttime driving restriction
does have exemptions for traveling to and from school-sponsored
activities and work. The risk of fatal crashes involving 16- and
17-year-old drivers is three times higher from 10:00 p.m. to
midnight than from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., according to a study
by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Johns Hopkins
University's Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Double the period
-- from six months to 12 months -- that restricts a new driver
to a maximum of one unrelated teen passenger. The Johns Hopkins
Study also concluded that the driver death rate for 16-year-old
drivers rose sharply for each additional passenger in the
vehicle. Based on studies and testimony, White's task force
concluded that distractions from other teen passengers are one
of the leading causes of traffic crashes involving 16-year-old
passengers age 15 to 20, in addition to the drivers, who violate
the passenger restriction law. White's task force felt that a
teenager's actions are often motivated by consequences or lack
thereof. This proposal places responsibility on both the
passengers and the driver to abide by the passenger limitation
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drivers to complete a minimum six hours of actual, on-the-street
driving with a certified driver education instructor. This
proposal eliminates the provision that allows students in high
school driver education classes to take a proficiency exam after
completing just three hours of practice driving. In addition, it
removes current exemptions that allow the use of driving
simulators and driving ranges as a substitute for street driving
with a certified driver education instructor.
Implement a true
Graduated Driver Licensing system that requires new drivers to
earn their way from one stage to the next. Under this proposal,
once issued a learner's permit, a teen would be required to
drive conviction-free for nine months before he or she would be
eligible for a driver's license. The teen would then also have
to drive conviction-free for six months in addition to reaching
age 18 before moving from the initial licensing phase to the
full licensing phase. Until graduating to the full licensing
phase, these young drivers would be subject to the limitations
of the initial phase, which include the nighttime driving
restriction and cell phone ban, among others.
A stricter law in
which the drivers' licenses of those under age 21 would be
suspended for each additional conviction following a driver's
initial suspension for two moving violations in a 24-month
period. This provision puts young drivers on notice that once
their drivers' licenses have been suspended, each additional
conviction until they turn 21 will result in another suspension
of their driving privileges.
under age 18 who are ticketed for traffic violations to appear
before a judge with a parent or guardian to receive court
supervision. This legislation also requires the attendance of
traffic school as a requisite for court supervision for drivers
under the age of 21. This ensures that the parent or guardian is
fully aware of the minor's traffic violation and understands the
requirements and ramifications of court supervision.
new penalties -- including license revocation and vehicle
impoundment -- for drivers who are involved in street racing.
Street racing has become a deadly phenomenon that encourages
drivers to race on city streets, highways and interstates.
Harsh, no-nonsense penalties are needed to combat and punish
this deadly, thrill-seeking behavior.
In addition to the legislation, White recommended various
procedural and administrative changes that will further improve
driver education and teen driver safety. Those measures include a
voluntary contract that allows parents to establish written
guidelines for their children to follow in order to keep their
driving privileges. White's office will work with the Illinois
Parent Teacher Association and Driver Education Industry to create a
guidebook to help educate parents and teens about the GDL law and to
provide safe driving tips. White said he would establish a committee
headed by the State Board of Education to update Illinois Driver
Education Standards and urge the State Board of Education to
establish mandatory parent-child meetings with driver education
instructors before students may enroll in driver education classes.
"This is a very comprehensive proposal with many tough, yet
sensible, new rules for our teen drivers," said White. "But they are
being proposed with the sole purpose of reducing teen driving
crashes and fatalities."
(Text copied from file received from