The Illinois Department of Transportation’s Division of Traffic Safety has reported that traffic crashes are the leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 15 and 20. Nearly one out of every five licensed 16-year-olds is in a vehicle crash, and, per mile driven, their fatality rate is roughly three to five times that of drivers between 30 and 50 years of age. The Division of Traffic Safety has attributed the high teen crash rate to the lack of driving experience, as well as a greater tendency to take risks. While Illinois has been reluctant to raise the minimum licensing age for new drivers, the state’s Graduated Licensing Program addresses common teen-driving pitfalls to reduce the opportunity for injury. The initial licensing phase begins when the new driver successfully completes the permit stage. This phase lasts for the first year of licensing, or until the driver turns 18 – whichever occurs first. To reduce distractions that cause auto accidents, a new driver may have no more than one passenger under 20 years old (other than immediate family) and may be ticketed for violating this law. Furthermore, a new driver must maintain a conviction-free driving record to six months prior to turning 18 before moving on to the full licensing stage. Thus, a conviction during the initial licensing stage may extend restrictions beyond age 18. Ronald F. Wittmeyer, Jr. practices plaintiffs’ personal injury law, and has his office in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Admitted to the practice of law in the State of Illinois and the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Mr. Wittmeyer began his practice with a defense firm, where he worked until he founded R. F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. in 1984. With thirty years of experience handling personal injury cases, Ronald Wittmeyer has successfully represented thousands of clients, many of whom have suffered serious or fatal injuries. Currently, Ronald F. Wittmeyer Jr. is a member of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association Board of Directors. For more information on The Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. visit http://injurylawattys.com/.
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