Chicago’s’ Graduated Driver License (GDL) drivers face a rough road due to street construction projects that are hindering getting around the city. During the permit phase a GDL driver is required to practice driving a minimum of 50 hours that include 10 hours at night. During the nine month period in which a permit must be held, these new drivers are sure to face rough roads while qualifying for their initial license.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reminds us that, ” Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens… In 2009, eight teens ages 16 to 19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries.” Road construction offer a “present danger” for inexperience drivers that add to the CDC statistics.
The facts on Teen Drivers goes further to point out that, also in 2009, 3,000 teens were killed and 350,000 were treated in emergency rooms across America. Young people represent 14% of the population, account for $26 billion of costs associated with motor vehicle injuries by males and females. in fact, 16 to 19 year old are 4 times more likely to crash their vehicle and the risk gets higher if the driver is male, driving with passengers, and have a new license.
Chicago is located in Cook County, Illinois where the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) issued a report that included Cook County road construction info in November 2010. The project is – getting around Illinois and list up to 19 sites that could prove to become major hazards for the inexperience driver that is trying to get around Illinois and trying to qualify for the Full Licensing Phase, drivers 18 – 20 years old.
IDOT road construction info report that drivers will need to slow down and expect delays while traveling through the orange zones. Drivers should use extreme caution which young drivers have a problem doing. Sometimes an alternate route is suggested because lanes are either reduced to 1 or 2 lanes in either direction. The earliest starting dates are as early as June of 2009, and as late as December of 2015. The Interstate Routes range from north, south, east, and west of Cook County that include US 6, US 12, US 45, US 20, US 30, IL 30 / 43 / 50 / 64 / 72 / 83, also East River Rd, Congress Pkwy, Wacker, 79th Street, Elmhurst Rd, Franklin, Grand Ave and Interstate 90 / 94.
Just recently, Governor Quinn announced $64 million investment to build grade separation in Bensenville. the project named the Chicago Regional Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program (CREATE). This orange zone attempts to improve regional transportation by reducing roadway congestion and improve safety, a matter so critical to the inexperienced driver.
The intersection that is being improved is Irving Park Road and the Canadian Pacific Railroad Bridge where everyday 37,000 vehicles ride and 6,400 of these are delayed due to the increased traffic pattern. The project is estimated to be completed in the fall of 2013, where all modes of transportation; planes, trains, and automobiles collide. Teen drivers will surely find this a driving mine field and will do well to survive the obstacle course during construction.
The project in Bensenville will create 830 new jobs which will be good for the economy, according to the mid-term elections America had no jobs and they seem to throw the baby out with the bath water. The Governor claims that the “Illinois Jobs Now,” capital construction program should create 155, 000 short-term and permanent jobs.
The CDC list the factors that put teens at risk. These factors include:
- underestimate dangerous situations
- do not recognize hazardous situations
- teens speed and allow shorter headway
- male teenage passengers promote risky behavior
- male drivers involved in fatal crashes – 37% speeding & 26% drinking
- the use of no seat belts especially African-American & Hispanics
- the BAC(Blood Alcohol Concentration) is greater in teens
- more likely to drink and drive or passenger with drinking driver
- teen deaths in motor vehicles occur at night and on the weekends
In conclusion, young drivers face rough roads ahead during this period of economic stimulus that focuses on transportation revitalization, orange zones are going up everywhere. Teens will do well to be involved in a GDL program where they are taught to recognize dangerous and hazardous situations, especially around construction zones. Teens need to learn to slow down and allow for more following distances while driving and stop the risky behavior like driving on the shoulder of the road during delays. If teens know that Drinking and Driving is against the law, then teens need to obey the law to stay alive and wear their seat belt. Parents can lighten the load on teens by restricting night and weekend driving. The ultimate responsibility for GDL drivers rest with the supervision of the parent and finally on the teen driver themselves to avoid rough roads.