Teen driving fatalities down 60 percent in Illinois

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After years of hundreds of teens dying in automobile accidents, the most recent data shows that teen driving fatalities are down 60 percent in Illinois.

In 2007 there were 144 teen driving deaths compared to just 58 teen driving deaths in 2012.

Wednesday the Secretary of State of Illinois, Jesse White, announced the recent data.

He attributes the drop to provisions that were made to the Graduated Drivers License program in 2008.

Some changes that were made included teen drivers had to have their permits for at least nine months rather than six. Those with learners permits were required to have 50 hours of driving experience with an adult over 21, ten of those hours must be at night.

Grant Iles is a driver’s education instructor at Moline High School and is doing his part in dropping teen automobile accidents.

“All it takes is one bad choice and you may not be able to make it again,” said Iles.

Moline High School is just one of four high schools in Illinois that has a driving course on their campus. Students who enroll in driver’s education at Moline High will take an 18 week course.

“We have three phases to our program. We have class, range, and street driving,” said Iles.

Each phase is on a three day rotation. Class may be on Monday, the driving practice range may be on Wednesday, and the street driving on Friday, all depending on a student’s schedule.

Today, Iles had two students driving on the streets of Moline, but some days are easier than others.

Moline High will have their students drive in rain, sleet, or snow.

“When it snows, I have to worry about my students freaking out, but also the people around us who aren’t driving for the conditions,” said Iles.

One student told News 8 how difficult it was to see in the snow Tuesday during her driving lesson.

But Iles wants students to be prepared for the worst of conditions.

When students graduate from Moline High School’s driver’s education program, they will be ready for the road.

“They will understand the importance and severity of driving well,” said Iles.

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