Illinois Teen Driving Deaths Decline

Illinois teen driving deaths have declined, and officials say it is because of more stringent regulations for teen driver’s licenses.

Seven years ago, Illinois put a more restrictive program of graduated driver’s licenses in place for teenagers. Teen driving deaths have dropped five percent since then. According to the office of the Illinois Secretary of State, the restrictions have improved driving safety.

The graduated driver’s license program has three phases.

In the initial permit phase, upon reaching the age of 15, a person may obtain a restricted driving permit, with a parent’s permission. The permit is valid for two years, and it must be held for a period of at least nine months before moving to the next phase. During the permit phase, a teenager must practice driving while supervised by an adult age 21 or older with a valid driver’s license. Each teen is required to complete a minimum of 50 hours, including 10 nighttime hours. A teenager with a driver’s permit must also complete a driver education course before moving on to the next phase.

In the initial licensing phase, available for drivers age 16-17, a teenager may drive unsupervised, but he or she is subject to nighttime curfews. In addition, for the first year or until the driver turns 18, the driver is limited to only one passenger under the age of 20, not including family members. Moving violations during this period may extend the period of time before a driver may move on to the full licensing phase.

In the full licensing phase, there are no age-related restrictions on driving. But drivers age 18-20 who did not take a high school driver education course must complete a six-hour course before they may obtain a driver’s license.

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