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Study: Illinois Should Toughen Teen Driving Laws

A report compiled by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, made up of insurance companies, law enforcement and anti-drunk driving groups, gave Illinois generally high marks for its drunk driving and highway safety laws (ABC Chicago). 

But while the report gave most of the state's DUI laws a "green light," the teen driving category received an "amber," which could be loosely translated to "needs improvement."

Several highway safety officials met in Washington, D.C. earlier this week to discuss distracted driving, the article states, particularly with regard to the dangerous trend in texting while driving. While teenagers are the largest adopters of texting as a means of communication, the report actually gives Illinois high marks for its texting ban.

In fact, Illinois ranked number three among states for its highway safety laws. So why the lower rating for teen driving?

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White was able to encourage stricter laws for teen licensing (including an increase in time spent driving with parents), which he says reduced teen driving deaths by 52 percent. But the organization believes its teen driving laws should be tougher still:

To claim the top spot, advocates recommends the teen drivers start learning at 16. Currently, 15- year-olds can get a permit. Also, experts encourage reducing nighttime driving for teens even further to 10 p.m. on weekends too. Currently, it's 11 p.m. on weekends.

Perhaps an earlier curfew might also reduce the number of teen DUIs, although anyone willing to drink and drive probably will ignore curfew as well.