On behalf of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Larry Trent and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Secretary Timothy Martin announced Thursday that the number of teen deaths on Illinois roadways dropped to its lowest rate since 1974.
The announcement was made at the Prevention Day 2005 crash re-enactment demonstration at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, which is planned by high school students who are part of the Sangamon County DUI Education Committee. Similar demonstrations were also held in each of the ISP’s 21 districts.
Increased enforcement efforts during 2004 are credited for helping to reduce the number of teens, ages 15 – 19, killed in motor vehicle crashes. Preliminary 2004 fatality figures provided by the Illinois Department of Transportation indicate 133 teens were killed last year, the lowest rate since 1974, the year collection of teen fatality statistics began. In 2003, 187 teens lost their lives on Illinois roadways and 190 were killed in 2002.
In July 2003, Gov. Blagojevich signed legislation prohibiting teen drivers from carrying more than one other teenage passenger in the car for the first six months after receiving his or her license. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, data shows that each additional teen passenger increases crash risks by 50 percent.
Recognizing the need to modify teen driving behavior and to raise awareness on the use of seat belts and the consequences of underage drinking, especially during the upcoming prom and graduation season, the ISP will reportedly increase its enforcement efforts around schools this spring.
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