Illinois Teen Fatalities on a Decline
Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig, Secretary of State Jesse White, the Governors Highway Safety Association, Illinois State Police (ISP), Ford Motor Company Fund and The Allstate Foundation announced the seven winnings schools from the 2010 Operation Teen Safe Driving Program. This announcement comes as Illinois records a decline in teen fatalities in automobile crashes over the past two years as compared to previous years. From January 1 through March 25, 2010, 18 teens (ages 16-19) lost their lives on Illinois roadways. During the same time period last year, there were 15 teen deaths.
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. The third year of the statewide program kicked off in August 2009 encouraging high school students to use their creativity and imagination to develop a program to educate their peers on the dangers of unsafe driving practices.
Another important teen driving initiative includes the Graduated Driver Licensing law introduced by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse 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 convictions. Leading national traffic safety experts have recognized the law as one of the best in the nation.
“The improved graduated driver licensing (GDL) law that resulted from the recommendations of the Teen Driver Safety Task Force makes Illinois' teen driver program one of the strongest in the nation and, more importantly, is saving lives,” said Secretary of State Jesse White. “I am encouraged that teen driving deaths have dropped by over 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.”
Twenty one 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 the Chicago area and in central Illinois at the end of April. 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 region will receive prizes ranging from $500-$2,500 to host a post prom event.
“We are very impressed by our high school students, whose efforts are helping make our roadways safer,” said IDOT Secretary Gary Hannig. “Operation Teen Safe Driving has been a very successful initiative, and we are proud to lead the way as the first state to offer a program of this magnitude.”
"The Illinois State Police is proud to be partners in Operation Teen Safe Driving,” said ISP Acting Director Jonathon E. Monken. "The accomplishments of these young adults, and the creativity encouraged by this traffic safety initiative, are truly extraordinary. This program provides students with the opportunity to share their time, talents, and energy to promote awareness and safe driving practices in a learning-focused environment."
“The Ford Motor Company Fund is very pleased to be 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 is part of our deep commitment to the safety of all drivers including teenagers. As evidenced by the dropping teen fatality rate, this successful 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 Governors Highway Safety Association and SADD (“Students Against Destructive Decisions”).
The winning school in each region is as followed:
Region One: 1st place: Oak Forest HS; 2nd place: John Hersey HS; 3rd place: Palatine HS; 4th place: St. Viator HS; 5th place: Harold L. Richards HS
Region Two: 1st place: Gardner South Wilmington HS; 2nd place: Lincoln Way Central HS; 3rd place: HD Jacobs HS; 4th place: Glenbard West HS; 5th place: Glenbard North HS
Region Three: 1st place: Farmington High School; 2nd place: AlWood High School; 3rd place: Serena High School
Region Four: 1st place: Pekin High School; 2nd place: Quincy High School; 3rd place: Lanphier High School; 4th place: Southeast High School; 5th place tied: Beardstown High School & Deer Creek Macinaw High School
Region Five: 1st place: Oakland High School; 2nd place: Hillside Bethel Christian School; 3rd place: Donovan High School; 4th place: Cissna High School; 5th place tied: Clifton Central High School & Tuscola High School
Region Six: 1st place: Chester High School; 2nd place: East Alton Wood River High School; 3rd place: Civic Memorial High School; 4th place: Trico High School; 5th place: Granite City High School
Region Seven: 1st place: Patoka High School; 2nd place: Salem High School; 3rd place: Thompsonville High School; 4th place: Herrin High School; 5th place: NCOE High School