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Letters to the Editor

Improving teen driver safety must be a top priority

Nearly half of all teen drivers will experience a car crash before graduating from high school, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) cites one of the main reasons being that parents are becoming less involved in training teen drivers after they receive their licenses and are not regularly reinforcing teen driving safety measures.

A recent report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association highlights that progress has been made in the past 10 years to curb the number of teen driver-related crashes, but teen drivers are still 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a car crash than adults.

Illinois has made important strides to improve teen driver safety, such as banning the hand-held use of mobile devices while driving, and implementing a Graduated Driver Licensing system that gives beginning drivers more supervised time behind the wheel before graduating to full licensure. As a result, teen driving fatality crashes have decreased by 60 percent in Illinois since 2008.

The Illinois Insurance Association (IIA) and its members recognize that while progress has been made, more needs to be done to protect teen drivers and their passengers.

IIA continues to promote safe driving initiatives for teens such as the NHTSA’s “5 to Drive” campaign, which offers teen driver safety tips and highlights five practices statistically associated with safer outcomes: no drinking and driving, no distracted driving, no extra passengers, no speeding and consistent seat belt use.

Kevin J. Martin

Springfield

Note to readers: Kevin J. Martin is executive director of the Illinois Insurance Association.

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