Illinois Department of Transportation, Erica Borggren, Acting Secretary
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 5, 2011

CONTACT:
Josh Kauffman 217.558.0517 (IDOT)
Guy Tridgell 312.814.4693 (IDOT)
Rebecca Bunting 313.845.8740 (Ford )
Ellie Klooster 847-667-8108 (Allstate)

IDOT Announces 2011 Operation Teen Safe Driving Winners

Illinois Teen Fatalities Declining

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig, Secretary of State Jesse White, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, Illinois State Police (ISP), Ford Motor Company Fund and The Allstate Foundation today announced the winning schools from each region under the 2011 Operation Teen Safe Driving Program. The winners were selected for their creativity and imagination in developing programs to educate their peers on the dangers of unsafe driving practices. This announcement comes as Illinois records a significant decrease in teen fatalities in automobile crashes since the program began in 2007.

In total, 105 high schools statewide were initially selected to participate in the innovative program, modeled after Ford Motor Company Fund’s nationally recognized Ford Driving Skills for Life teen safety program. This is the fourth year of the statewide program.

“We applaud the continued creativity, determination, devotion and hard work of Illinois high school students in helping make our roadways and communities safer for all,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig. “Operation Teen Safe Driving offers a unique and extremely successful peer-to-peer program that directly impacts teen drivers statewide. The effective partnership between high schools, traffic safety advocates and private and public entities allow the program to continually expand its reach and connect with tens of thousands of young drivers on an annual basis.”

Another important teen driving initiative, the Graduated Driver Licensing law was introduced by Secretary of State White. Effective January 1, 2008, the law gives teens additional behind the wheel driving experience under the watchful eye of a parent or guardian, limits in-car distractions and requires teens to earn their way from one stage to the next by avoiding traffic violations and convictions. Leading national traffic safety experts have recognized the law as one of the best in the nation.

“When I established the Teen Driver Safety Task Force the goal was to improve Illinois’ graduated driver licensing (GDL) law and, even more importantly, to save lives,” said Secretary of State Jesse White. “I am encouraged that teen driving deaths have dropped by 50 percent since the law took effect January 1, 2008. This law, in conjunction with the Operation Teen Safe Driving initiative, is having the intended impact on teen driving safety. My congratulations to the winners as well as to all schools that participated in this important program. Working together, we can save more lives and make Illinois roads safer for all of us.”

Thirty-five high schools have been selected to participate in Ford Motor Company Fund’s Driving Skills for Life, “Ride and Drive” events. These events will take place in Springfield on April 18 and 19, and in the Chicago area on April 21 and 22. The “Ride and Drive” events will feature professional drivers providing young drivers rigorous behind the wheel driving exercises, including: hazard recognition/accident avoidance, vehicle handling/skid control and speed/space management. Additionally, the top five winning schools in each of the seven regions will receive prizes ranging from $500 to $2,500 to host a post-prom event.

"The proper education of our teen drivers is a crucial component in the short and long term reduction of traffic crash fatalities," said ISP Interim Director Patrick Keen. "The partnerships formed between public and private entities, and the accomplishments achieved by the students in the program, are a testament to the dedication of everyone involved in the Operation Teen Safe Driving program. The ISP is encouraged by the ongoing dialogue and commitment of these young adults who share their time, talents, and energy to promote awareness and safe driving practices."

"The Ford Motor Company Fund is very pleased to be returning for the fourth year as the lead partner of this important teen safe driving initiative," said Jim Graham, Manager of Community Relations Ford Fund and Community Services. "Operation Teen Safe Driving combines education and training to maximize success. As evidenced by the dropping teen fatality rate, this innovative program is truly making a difference on the roads in Illinois and beyond."

“The Allstate Foundation is honored to continue to serve as a leading partner in the combined effort to eliminate distracted driving and save teen lives on Illinois roadways,” said Bill McGrath, Allstate Insurance Regional Sales Leader and father of teen drivers. “With high school prom and graduation celebrations just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to remind teens and their parents about the safety responsibilities young drivers assume every time they get behind the wheel.”

The Office of the Governor, the Illinois Secretary of State, IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety, the Illinois State Police, the Illinois State Board of Education, along with corporate sponsors, the Ford Motor Company Fund and The Allstate Foundation are major partners of the Operation Teen Safe Driving program. Other partners include: the Governor’s Highway Safety Association and SADD (“Students Against Destructive Decisions”).

The winning schools in each region are as followed:

Region One:
1st place: Oak Forest High School
2nd place: Wells Academy
3rd place: Hersey High School
4th place: Eisenhower High School
5th place: Tinley Park High School

Region Two:
1st place: Lincoln Way West High School
2nd place: Glenbard West High School
3rd place: Johnsburg High School
4th place: Vernon Hills High School
5th place: Crystal Lake High School

Region Three:
1st place: Ottawa High School
2nd place: Milledgeville High School
3rd place: Alwood High School
4th place: LaMoille High School
5th place: Alleman High School

Region Four:
1st place: Pekin High School
2nd place: ROWVA High School
3rd place: Farmington High School
4th place: Quincy High School
5th place: Eureka High School

Region Five:
1st place: Manteno High School
2nd place: Hillside Bethel High School
3rd place: Tuscola High School
4th place: Donovan High School
5th place: Oakland High School

Region Six:
1st place: Marquette Catholic High School
2nd place: Elverado High School
3rd place: Granite City High School
4th place: Murphysboro High School
5th place: Cairo High School

Region Seven:
1st place: Herrin High School
2nd place: NCOE High School
3rd place: Johnston City High School
4th place: Salem High School
5th place: Robinson High School

For more information about the Operation Teen Safe Driving program including best practices, resources, toolkits or a calendar of upcoming events, please visit www.teensafedrivingillinois.org

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