Letters to the Editor

Letter: Support laws to improve young drivers’ skills

National Teen Driver Safety Week is Oct. 17-23. The Illinois Insurance Association joins the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Governors Highway Safety Association, state and local traffic officials in bringing awareness to this important campaign.

Statistics show nearly half of teen drivers have car crashes before graduating high school. Out-of-pocket repairs, medical bills, third-party damages and increased auto insurance premiums often accompany these incidents. Even worse are fatal motor vehicle accidents.

The IIA and its member companies urge residents to embrace laws that improve beginning motorists’ driving skills. Illinois’ graduated driver’s license law requires extended supervised driving time. Other initiatives like the ban on hand-held cell phones, limitations on passengers, and restrictions on night driving aim to improve crash statistics for young drivers as well.

Unsafe actions behind the wheel jeopardize lives and make travel dangerous. Talk about driving distractions and best practices to minimize them. Urge teens to limit cell phone use and never text while driving. Discuss the impact of driving through rain, fog, snow and ice, so they know how to react to deteriorating road conditions. Promote good sleep habits. Drowsiness is an often-overlooked impairment that compromises the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle. Encourage responsible practices like focusing on the roadway, observing posted speed limits, leaving enough distance between cars, keeping emotion out of the driver seat, wearing seatbelts, and no drinking and driving.

Teen driver safety is everyone’s responsibility. Together, we can make a difference.

Kevin J. Martin

Executive Director

Illinois Insurance Association