Illinois Teen Driver Deaths Jump First Half Of 2011
After 15 years of dramatically declining deaths of teen drivers, preliminary numbers in a just released report for the first half of 2011 seem to indicate a mild reversal of that trend nationally but a startling jump in teen driver fatalities in Illinois.
The Governors Highway Safety Association is reporting traffic deaths for 16 and 17 year-old drivers have risen 11%, jumping from 211 for the first six months of 2011 compared to 190 for the same period in 2010.
“If this trend continued in the second half of 2011, it will mark a reversal of longstanding yearly declines in teen driver deaths, especially among 16-year-olds,” states the GHSA report.
Graduated driver licensing laws, allow new, teenage drivers to incrementally earn their drivers license through a series of steps normally beginning with a learner’s permit, moving up to a provisional or probational license and eventually earning a full license.
The GDL has had a significant impact on teen driver fatalities slashing that number for 16 & 17-year olds from 1,015 in 1995 when these laws first catching on, to 408 in 2010.
Here in Illinois the report has teen deaths up more dramatically, rising from 4 for the first half of 2010 to 12 teenage drivers killed in the first half of 2011.
While this GHSA report is a preliminary one, covering only the first half of 2011, the numbers may be a bit unsettling for Illinois state officials who have presided over impressive declines in overall traffic fatalities over the past decade. In fact, the state can legitimately boast of having seen total traffic deaths dip under 1000 a year for the last three years–a record dating back to the 1920′s.
“The preliminary report cites teen drivers as 16-and 17-year old drivers, without inclusion of 18-19 aged motorists and without citation of the historic snow and ice season of 2011 which significantly affected roadway conditions statewide,” says Illinois Department of Transportation spokesperson Josh Kauffman about the GHSA report. “IDOT will continue to work tirelessly to further improve highway safety, educate motorists on driving practices and form strategic alliances to help prevent and minimize the number of crashes and fatalities on Illinois roads.”
Illinois has had its GDL program in place since 2007 and that same year IDOT also helped launch the Operation Teen Safe Driving (OTSD), a program designed to educate young motorists on safe driving practices and how to be a responsible driver.