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Forum: Teen driving deaths declining

Updated: April 21, 2013 6:52AM



Four teenagers were tragically killed in a single-car crash March 11 near Wilmington in Will County. My heart goes out to their parents, families and friends. This fatal crash offers a stark reminder that we must continue working together to make our roads safer for everyone.

While the tragic crash reminds us we have work to do, it’s important to note that teen driving deaths are happening much less frequently since our state implemented one of the most comprehensive graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs in the nation in 2008.

Teen driving deaths have dropped nearly 60 percent in Illinois from 2007 to 2012 — more than twice the rate of the entire driving population. Illinois’ GDL law is credited with saving hundreds of teen lives.

Illinois’ GDL program better prepares novice drivers by giving them more time to obtain valuable driving experience while under the watchful eye of a parent or guardian, limiting in-car distractions and by requiring teens to earn their way from one stage to the next by avoiding traffic violations.

As the weather grows warmer, the amount of miles driven by teens will increase. I encourage everyone — parents, driver education instructors, police officers and teenagers themselves — to work together to promote and ensure safe and responsible driving. Working together we can make the roads of Illinois even safer.

Jesse White

Illinois Secretary of State

America’s disastrous jobs policy

Many of the good-paying, long-lasting jobs have left America. Most of these jobs were in manufacturing, the steel and trucking industries and other industrial plants.

A factory not only employs its workers, but it creates other jobs. Its equipment needs to be serviced, its supplies have to be made and delivered. The workers need to eat, so restaurants and bars and maybe a barber shop, a dry cleaners, an auto repair shop open nearby. Get the picture?

Corporations and their CEOs have made a lot of money since the recession by cutting costs and sending jobs abroad because of cheap labor. But we are losing our middle class. More people don’t have the money to buy the products that were once made in America. Guess what? Now we all lose.

We deserve leaders who will fight to reverse the current awful policies that drive jobs overseas. We can reverse this course. The outsourced jobs are not lost forever. Government must take the lead, and we must vote for people who will stop this insanity.

We need a powerful, citizens task force to lobby for such change and vote out every politician who supports policies that drive jobs away from our great country.

James M. Vallar

Orland Park



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