The Operation Teen Safe Driving Program aims to help reduce risk of Illinois car accidents

More than 100 schools statewide were selected to participate in the Operation Teen Safe Driving Program. Schools were asked to use their imagination and creativity to develop programs to help educate their peers about the importance of safe driving.

The Illinois Department of Transportation funds the program along with Ford Motor Company, the Allstate Foundation and Illinois State Police (ISP). This is the fourth year the program has been offered to our Illinois students. The program is offered in our region to help reduce the risks of teen driving accidents in Chicago and the surrounding areas.Our Chicago car accident lawyers understand the importance of these driving programs as they may have affected the recent decrease in Illinois teen motor-vehicle fatalities. Records show that teen driving fatalities have significantly decreased since the program began back in 2007.

“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 schools have been invited to join Ford Motor Company in Springfield for their Driving Skills for Life, “Ride and Drive” events. These events offer hands-on experiences with speed/space management, hazard recognition/accident avoidance and handling/skid control.

Students will be able to jump behind the wheel to complete rigorous driving exercises. In addition to event participation, the top five schools in each of our seven regions will receive cash prizes between $500 and $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.”

Car accidents are the leading cause of death in those 15 to 20 years of age. In the U.S., nearly 2,400 young drivers died in car accidents and roughly 196,000 were injured in 2009, showing a 15 percent decrease from 2008. Illinois suffered more than 130 fatalities from car accidents involving young drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 in 2009.

Ford’s Driving Skills for Life offers parents with this safe teen driving interactive toolkit to help educate their young drivers on how to travel safer on our roadways.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a teen driver, the personal injury attorneys and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.

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