Illinois Secretary of State says teen driver deaths are down 74% since 2007

National News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – During National Teen Driver Safety Week, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced Tuesday, Oct. 20 teen driver deaths are down 74 percent since 2007.

White took on the job of creating safer streets in Illinois through an improved graduated licensing program in 2008.

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), since White’s efforts to improve the graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws, teen driving fatalities have dropped.

IDOT reported in 2007 before White’s new GDL laws, 155 teens were killed in crashes.

In 2018, 48 teens were killed and in 2019, 41 teens were killed in traffic crashes.

Illinois’ GDL program prepares teen drivers for the road by giving them more time to gain valuable driving experience while under the guidance of an adult, limiting in-car distractions.

The program requires teens to earn their way from one stage to the next by avoiding traffic convictions.

White reminds the public that National Teen Driver Safety Week is a time when parents and caregivers are encouraged to talk to teens about staying safe behind the wheel, using seat belts, obeying the speed limit, and not texting while driving or driving impaired.

“The goal has always been to save lives,” White said. “While our graduated driver licensing (GDL) program is working as intended with teen driving deaths decreasing, there is still more work to be done. My hope is that with hard work and continued open communication between my office, teens, parents and driver education teachers, teen fatalities will continue to decline.”

White says parents, teachers, and driver education instructors play an important role in preparing safe and responsible teen drivers.

State and national traffic safety organizations say Illinois’ stronger GDL program is one of the best in the nation.

To learn more about the state’s GDL program, visit

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