Teen driving laws increase in Illinois

By Eric Steckling

The new year brings tougher rules for Illinois’ teenage drivers.

Secretary of State Jesse White created a 3-part legislation package that aims to strengthen the requirements of Illinois’ graduated driver licensing program.

White’s Deputy Press Secretary Henry Haupt said that Secretary White feels the time to act is now.

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“He was sick and tired of watching the news, reading the newspapers, and hearing about young, novice drivers being killed in car crashes,” Haupt said. “And he thought that it was time that the state of Illinois did something about it.”

Teens will now have to hold their permit for nine months and complete 50 hours of driving before applying for a license. All teen drivers will have to be off the road by 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends.

Another addition is that everyone under the age of 19 is prohibited from using their cell phones while driving, except in the case of an emergency.

Another new feature is that parents will now be able to access their teen’s driving records online.

Press Secretary Dave Druker said that this makes Illinois’ driving program one of the nation’s best.

“We’re making every effort to have the young person better trained and more experienced behind the wheel when they get their license,” Druker said. “And I think that’s the idea or the concept here.”

A study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety predicts these new laws could reduce fatal accidents involving 16-year-olds by 38 percent.