Illinois Teen Fatalities Declining
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig, Secretary of State Jesse White, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, Illinois State Police (ISP), Ford Motor Company Fund and The Allstate Foundation today announced the winning schools from each region under the 2011 Operation Teen Safe Driving Program. The winners were selected for their creativity and imagination in developing programs to educate their peers on the dangers of unsafe driving practices.
This announcement comes as Illinois records a significant decrease in teen fatalities in automobile crashes since the program began in 2007. In total, 105 high schools statewide were initially selected to participate in the innovative program, modeled after Ford Motor Company Fund’s nationally recognized Ford Driving Skills for Life teen safety program. This is the fourth year of the statewide program.
“We applaud the continued creativity, determination, devotion and hard work of Illinois high school students in helping make our roadways and communities safer for all,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig. “Operation Teen Safe Driving offers a unique and extremely successful peer-to-peer program that directly impacts teen drivers statewide. The effective partnership between high schools, traffic safety advocates and private and public entities allow the program to continually expand its reach and connect with tens of thousands of young drivers on an annual basis.”
Another important teen driving initiative, the Graduated Driver Licensing law was introduced by Secretary of State White. Effective January 1, 2008, the law gives teens additional behind the wheel driving experience under the watchful eye of a parent or guardian, limits in-car distractions and requires teens to earn their way from one stage to the next by avoiding traffic violations and convictions. Leading national traffic safety experts have recognized the law as one of the best in the nation.
“When I established the Teen Driver Safety Task Force the goal was to improve Illinois’ graduated driver licensing (GDL) law and, even more importantly, to save lives,” said Secretary of State Jesse White. “I am encouraged that teen driving deaths have dropped by 50 percent since the law took effect January 1, 2008. This law, in conjunction with the Operation Teen Safe Driving initiative, is having the intended impact on teen driving safety. My congratulations to the winners as well as to all schools that participated in this important program. Working together, we can save more lives and make Illinois roads safer for all of us.”
Thirty-five high schools have been selected to participate in Ford Motor Company Fund’s Driving Skills for Life, “Ride and Drive” events. These events will take place in Springfield on April 18 and 19, and in the Chicago area on April 21 and 22. The “Ride and Drive” events will feature professional drivers providing young drivers rigorous behind the wheel driving exercises, including: hazard recognition/accident avoidance, vehicle handling/skid control and speed/space management. Additionally, the top five winning schools in each of the seven regions will receive prizes ranging from $500 to $2,500 to host a post-prom event.
"The proper education of our teen drivers is a crucial component in the short and long term reduction of traffic crash fatalities," said ISP Interim Director Patrick Keen. "The partnerships formed between public and private entities, and the accomplishments achieved by the students in the program, are a testament to the dedication of everyone involved in the Operation Teen Safe Driving program. The ISP is encouraged by the ongoing dialogue and commitment of these young adults who share their time, talents, and energy to promote awareness and safe driving practices."
"The Ford Motor Company Fund is very pleased to be returning for the fourth year as the lead partner of this important teen safe driving initiative," said Jim Graham, Manager of Community Relations Ford Fund and Community Services. "Operation Teen Safe Driving combines education and training to maximize success. As evidenced by the dropping teen fatality rate, this innovative program is truly making a difference on the roads in Illinois and beyond."
“The Allstate Foundation is honored to continue to serve as a leading partner in the combined effort to eliminate distracted driving and save teen lives on Illinois roadways,” said Bill McGrath, Allstate Insurance Regional Sales Leader and father of teen drivers. “With high school prom and graduation celebrations just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to remind teens and their parents about the safety responsibilities young drivers assume every time they get behind the wheel.”
The Office of the Governor, the Illinois Secretary of State, IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety, the Illinois State Police, the Illinois State Board of Education, along with corporate sponsors, the Ford Motor Company Fund and The Allstate Foundation are major partners of the Operation Teen Safe Driving program. Other partners include: the Governor’s Highway Safety Association and SADD (“Students Against Destructive Decisions”).
The winning schools in each region are as follows:
- 1st place: Oak Forest High School
- 2nd place: Wells Academy
- 3rd place: Hersey High School
- 4th place: Eisenhower High School
- th place: Tinley Park High School
- 1st place: Lincoln Way West High School
- 2nd place: Glenbard West High School
- 3rd place: Johnsburg High School
- 4th place: Vernon Hills High School
- 5th place: Crystal Lake High School
- 1st place: Ottawa High School
- 2nd place: Milledgeville High School
- 3rd place: Alwood High School
- 4th place: LaMoille High School
- 5th place: Alleman High School
- 1st place: Pekin High School
- 2nd place: ROWVA High School
- 3rd place: Farmington High School
- 4th place: Quincy High School
- 5th place: Eureka High School
- 1st place: Manteno High School
- 2nd place: Hillside Bethel High School
- 3rd place: Tuscola High School
- 4th place: Donovan High School
- 5th place: Oakland High School
- 1st place: Marquette Catholic High School
- 2nd place: Elverado High School
- 3rd place: Granite City High School
- 4th place: Murphysboro High School
- 5th place: Cairo High School
- 1st place: Herrin High School
- 2nd place: NCOE High School
- 3rd place: Johnston City High School
- 4th place: Salem High School
- 5th place: Robinson High School
For more information about the Operation Teen Safe Driving program including best practices, resources, toolkits or a calendar of upcoming events, please visit www.teensafedrivingillinois.org