The youngest drivers in Illinois would face the toughest sets of teen driving
restrictions in the nation, under a bill on Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s desk. House
lawmakers unanimously approved the bill after the Senate overwhelmingly approved
it on a 54-2 vote.
A recent study found that states implementing the strongest teen driver
restrictions have reduced fatalities as much as 40 percent, the St. Louis
With the backing of Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, teenage drivers
have seen more restrictions put in place intended to help protect them and
others on the state’s roadways.
The governor signed a bill into law last summer that doubled the amount of
time teens must spend in behind-the-wheel training with their parents to 50
hours. The graduated driver’s license program includes 10 hours of nighttime
Illinois law also prohibits drivers younger than 18 from using cell phones
while driving and limits the number of teenage passengers they can
The bill atop Blagojevich’s desk would extend a teen’s driver’s permit phase
from three to nine months. The bill – SB172 – also would require that public
schools provide six hours of instructor-supervised driving on streets.
Supporters of the plan said they would ask lawmakers for additional funding
to cover the expense of road driving time.
Another provision in the bill would make the curfew an hour earlier for
drivers under age 18. The cutoff time would move from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m. on
weekdays. It would change from midnight to 11 p.m. on weekends.
Exceptions to the curfew would be made for teens driving to and from work or
church, attending school activities or doing errands for their parents.
A separate provision would extend from six months to one year the length of
time for passenger limits on 16- and 17-year-old drivers. Exceptions are made
Teens also would be prohibited from chatting on their cell phones or text
messaging while at the wheel.