National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs
Washington, D.C. - History was made today as the National Transportation Safety Board saw three of its Most Wanted Safety Improvements signed into law by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. The event marks the first time ever that three of the NTSB's Most Wanted recommendations have been enacted in one year by one state. Senate Bill 50 enacts primary enforcement of seat belt use; Senate Bill 52 requires children less than 8 years of age to use booster seats in automobiles; and Senate Bill 58 restricts novice teen drivers to one teenage passenger for the first 6 months of their license.
With record numbers of people planning to take to the roads, traveling for the July 4th holiday weekend, the three safety issues addressed in the legislation represent some of the most proven methods to save lives in highway accidents. Seat belts, when worn, can cut deaths and injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes in half. Booster seats reduce serious injuries to children by 50 to 75 percent and for young, inexperienced drivers the more passengers that are in the vehicle, the greater the risk of an accident. Limiting the number of passengers reduces distractions and allows the young driver to focus on the driving task.
Primary enforcement, booster seats for children and teen driver passenger restrictions have been on the Safety Board's Most Wanted list for almost 10 years. As part of the effort to address these safety issues, the Board works with the states, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the National Safety Council (NSC), and other organizations to raise awareness and promote legislation addressing the issues.
To honor this significant achievement in promoting highway safety in the state of Illinois, NTSB Chairman Ellen Engleman presented safety awards to Governor Blagojevich and Illinois State Senator John Cullerton in recognition of their outstanding leadership in promoting and adopting laws that require safety belt use by all drivers, booster seat use for children, and passenger restrictions for novice teen drivers.
"These three bills underscore the Illinois legislature's dedication to the welfare of their citizens and their understanding of the significant role the legislation will play in protecting everyone on Illinois' roads," said Chairman Engleman. "We could drastically reduce the number of deaths on the nation's roads if other state legislatures were as aggressive toward improving highway safety as Illinois."
The ceremony took place at the NSC headquarters in Itasca, Illinois. Also present were Alan McMillan, NSC President; Chuck Hurley, NSC Vice President; and Don McNamara, regional director for NHTSA. Illinois State Senator Barack Obama and State Representatives Mark Beaubien, Timothy Schmitz, and Randall Hultgren attended the ceremony.
NTSB Office of Public Affairs: (202) 314-6100
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.