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Law strengthening GDL program took effect July 1

Published: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 2:15 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 2:37 p.m. CDT

SPRINGFIELD — The law proposed by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White to further improve Illinois’ Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program took effect July 1. The new law requires people ages 18 to 20 who failed to attend driver education to complete a six-hour driver training and education course before applying for a driver’s license.

“Since we implemented one of the nation’s most comprehensive GDL programs in 2008, teen driving fatalities have dropped nearly 60 percent,” said White. “But even the best programs can be made better, and this legislation will help strengthen our state’s GDL program, and hopefully save more lives.”

Prior to this law, when teens turned 18 — even without any driver education whatsoever – they were allowed to apply for and obtain a driver’s license. In 2013, there were 37,543 driver’s licenses issued to 18 to 20 year olds. Of those, 18,532 did not take driver education.

The six-hour driver training course includes a variety of critical traffic safety components, including instruction on traffic laws; highway signs, signals and markings; issues commonly associated with motor vehicle accidents such as poor decision-making, risk-taking, impaired driving, distraction, speed, not wearing a safety belt, driving at night, failure to yield the right-of-way, texting while driving, using wireless communication devices and alcohol and drug awareness.

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