NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


March 3, 2003

Washington, D.C. -- NTSB Member Carol Carmody will testify on Tuesday, March 4, 2003 before the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee advocating graduated driver licenses passenger restrictions for teenage drivers, primary seat belt enforcement and use of booster seats for young children. The hearing, which is being held by Senator John Cullerton, Chair, Judiciary Committee, will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois.

“The Safety Board commends Senator John Cullerton for his leadership in highway safety issues, and for sponsoring Senate Bill 50 on seatbelt usage; Senate Bill 52 on booster seats; and Senate Bill 58 on teen passenger restrictions,” Carmody said.

In 1993, the Safety Board became involved in the issue of youth highway safety when it adopted nine recommendations designed to reduce teen fatalities. A year later, youth highway safety was placed on the Board's List of Most Wanted Safety Improvements, a program designed to increase the public’s awareness of, and support for, action to adopt safety steps that can prevent accidents and saves lives. The list also includes use of booster seats for children and primary enforcement of state seat belt laws.

In Illinois, from 1994 to 2001, 502 children in the 4-to-8 years old were either killed or suffered injuries while riding in motor vehicles. Eighty percent of these children were not in the appropriate restraint system, a booster seat for their age, height, and weight. During that same time, 9,622 vehicle occupants died in motor vehicle crashes in Illinois, almost 55 percent of them unrestrained.

Additionally, 341 people died in crashes involving teen drivers teenage drivers on Illinois highways in 2001. Although teen drivers account for only 6.1 percent of the driving population nationwide, they were involved in 24 percent of the total highway deaths in Illinois. This is a substantially higher proportion of traffic deaths involving teenage drivers than the national average of 14 percent.

“The enactment of the three bills being sponsored by Senator Cullerton will save the lives of so many citizens of Illinois and the safety Board supports their passage,” Carmody said.

As part of the Board’s effort to address these safety issues, the Board continues to work with the states, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Safety Council, and other organizations. Although the Safety Board does not have authority to require the implementation of its recommendations, its influence comes from its independence and objectivity of its investigative process.

Member Carmody comments will be available tomorrow afternoon on the Board’s website at: http://www.ntsb.gov.

NTSB Media Contact:
Terry N. Williams



The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.