Teenage drivers accounted for 9.1% of accidents with major injuries on Illinois roadways and 7.1% of the accidents with fatalities, as found by the Illinois Department of Transportation in 2016. This number is startling, and between inexperience behind the wheel and distracted driving, it is easy to understand why auto accidents are the number one killer of teen drivers in the United States
Rules for Teen Drivers
Teen drivers in Illinois must follow the Graduated Driver’s License Program. The GDL program was created to delay full licensing until a teen driver has gained experience by driving in low-risk conditions. Permits for teens begin at age 15 and must be held for a minimum of nine months. According to the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State, other rules for the Permit Phase include:
- Driver must be enrolled in a state-approved driver’s education course and pass written and vision testing
- Driver must practice a minimum of 50 hours, including 10 at night while still following nighttime driving restrictions (Sun-Thurs 10pm-6am & Fri-Sat 11pm-6am)
- Driver must be supervised by a parent or driver aged 21 and over
- Driver must not acquire any driving convictions within their 9 months
- Cellphone use is prohibited except in the case of an emergency and texting is prohibited
- All occupants must wear seatbelts
Once a teen has successfully completed this permit phase, they will move on to the Initial Licensing Phase. The ILP is for drivers 16-17 years old and the rules are nearly identical to the Permit Phase but also include:
- Parent must certify a minimum of 50 hours driving with 10 hours at night
- Driver must have completed driver’s education course
- Driver must maintain a conviction-free driver record for six-months prior to their 18th
- birthday to proceed to Full Licensing Phase
- For the first 12-months of licensing, passenger number is limited to one person under the age of 20 unless the passenger(s) are siblings, step-siblings, child or step-child of driver
The Full Licensing Phase is for drivers 18-20 years old and has no age-related passenger restrictions. Effective July 1, 2014, if a driver did not take a high-school state-approved driver’s education course, they must successfully complete a six-hour adult driver’s education course to receive their license. Use of a cellphone is prohibited unless in case of emergency until a driver is over 19 years old and texting while driving is prohibited for all drivers.
Teen Driving Accident Causes
Inexperience is the main cause of teen accidents. Even with the GDL program in place, teens still won’t have the reflexes and judgment of a more experienced driver. Teens are also more likely to drive with distractions, more likely to drive recklessly, drive while intoxicated, and drive without using seatbelts. While it is important that parents and guardians educate their teens on safe driving practices, unfortunately, accidents will still occur.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident due to teen drivers, contact Mike Agruss Law for an accident lawyer. Helping our clients is about counseling, advocating, and ultimately solving problems. With years of experience successfully representing the people and not the powerful, we will take care of the insurance adjusters, your medical bills, your property damage, and your lost wages, and monitor your treatment so you can focus on healing and getting your life back to normal. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you.
Lastly, Mike Agruss Law is not paid attorneys’ fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.