Patience a Life-Saving Virtue

New laws are credited for drop in teen driving deaths

Teenagers aren't usually known for their patience. However, recent statistics indicate that waiting a few more months for their driver's licenses might be saving lives.

Last January, Illinois laws on teen driving became a bit tougher, requiring teenagers to drive 50 hours with their parents before being licensed. They must also wait nine months (instead of three) to get their license and wait a year before they can carry more than one teenage passenger.

Secretary of State Jesse White has credited these new laws for the drop in teenage fatalities in car accidents. The number of Illinois teens (ages 16-19) who died in car crashes dropped more than 40 percent in 2008.

"Every state in the nation should follow Illinois' example by passing and enforcing strong, effective teen driving laws," Judith Lee Stone, president of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Fortunately, some teens don't seem to mind the extra wait if it makes them better drivers.

"Safety is important," said Rafael Mendez, a 15-year-old St. Patrick High School sophomore. "I'd rather have a lifetime of driving rather than a period of not driving because of an injury."

Matt Bartosik, former blogger of The Chicago Traveler and editor of Off the Rocks' next issue, does his part in keeping the roads safe by not driving at all.

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