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The Role You Play

According to NHTSA, more than 5,000 people die every year in teen-related car crashes, and teens are not the only ones dying. Teen drivers’ high crash risk affects their passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers. Keeping teens safe on the roads is the responsibility of everyone: parents, teens, friends, neighbors, educators, legislators and organizations.

What Parents Can Do

Parents should go beyond their state’s GDL laws and what is taught in driver’s education programs.
 
Parents should
  • Know their state’s current GDL laws and review them often with their teen
  • Prohibit teens from using a cell phone while driving
  • Find out if their teen’s friends adhere to the state’s GDL policies and if their parents enforce GDL
  • Require teens be off the roads when it gets dark. Most fatal teen crashes occur after 9 p.m.
  • Be a role model behind the wheel. Parents never should talk on a cell phone while driving, speed or drive unbelted
  • Continue to ride with their teen 

What Teens Can Do

Teens play a critical role in their own development as good drivers.

Teens should:

  • Refrain from riding with friends and classmates so as not to be a distraction, regardless of the state’s passenger law
  • Encourage teachers and driver’s education instructors to emphasize the importance and effectiveness of GDL
  • Join a teen-led organization such as SADD or National Organization for Youth Safety (NOYS)
  • Join Illinois' Teen Safe Driving Coalition
  • Adhere to the state’s GDL laws every time they drive  

What Businesses Can Do

Corporations and local business men and women are not immune to the effects of teen driving. 

Business owners should:

  • Join the Illinois Teen Safe Driving Coalition
  • Provide financial or in-kind support to the coalition and local teen safety organizations
  • Know the state’s GDL laws and enforce them when a teen appears to be breaking one

What Legislators Can Do

GDL laws vary state to state. The National Safety Council recommends seven elements for best-practice GDL, and no state has all seven in place. More can be done.

Legislators should:

  • Propose bills to strengthen existing teen driving laws
  • Support bills that would strengthen existing GDL laws
  • Visit schools and driver’s education classes to speak about the importance of teen driver safety

What Educators Can Do

Educators are role models for teens in and out of the classroom and should set a positive example.  

Educators should:

  • Join the Illinois Teen Safe Driving Coalition
  • Volunteer to oversee a teen-led safety group at the school
  • Help coordinate activities for National Youth Traffic Safety Month in May.