Teens at the wheel

A grieving mother now tries to save other lives by driving a car with signs proclaiming: "Speeding Killed My Son."

A teenager has learned how to prevent her drunken classmates from getting behind the wheel: She tells white lies to get their keys.

Countless small things can be done to chip away at the toll of teen traffic deaths. Each requires commitment, from individuals and from government.

That is a key theme that emerged over the last year in dozens of articles published by the Tribune as the newspaper focused on seeking answers to the problem of teens dying in accidents.


Heartache to hope: A roadmap to safety
The Tribune embarked early in 2006 on a mission to find solutions to teen driving crashes, a problem seemingly so intractable that it grinds down hope and commitment.

`It wasn't enough'
For parents of crash victims, life after a child's death fixates on loss, regret and keeping other kids safe.

What can parents do?

'You have to say something'
Teens who survive crashes or lose classmates feel the pressure to drive safer, ride safer and warn peers.

The next step: New law
Illinois lawmakers plan to beef up a licensing system that has been called below par.


More stories

Keeping teen drivers alive
Inexperience, speed, alcohol factors in No. 1 cause of death in youths. Read the story >>

Driven to distraction
Research shows how a teen brain can be hijacked by emotions.
Read the story >>
Pot, violent videos alter teenage brain. Read the story >>

Why Iowa couldn't OK limits on young drivers
Bill's fate highlights pitfalls of such efforts.
Read the story >>

Parents hold keys to safety on road
Experts offer tools and tips to help in raising responsible drivers.

Words of wisdom

A whole year with mom riding shotgun
Support for North Carolina's yearlong learner's permit has grown as driving deaths have plunged.


Doubts cast on benefits of new plan
Illinois is on the verge of doubling the number of hours teens with learner's permits have to spend driving under adult supervision, but experts say the change would yield marginal benefits, if any.


Young lives end `one after another'
A spike in teen driving deaths devastates a rural Illinois county, as parents, teachers and officials struggle to reverse the trend.


How one Illinois town got teens to buckle up
One twin died. One survived. Gibson City's teens turned Greg and Steve Arends' story into a campaign to save young drivers' lives.


White says teen fatals a priority
Panel to consider tougher laws for younger drivers.


The lethal lure of summer
Hot nights, cool parties, new drivers. Summer's magic hides this cold fact: July is the deadliest month of the year for teens behind the wheel.


Teen-driver task force set
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White set up a task force to strengthen the state's teen driving laws.


Tough message to deliver
Numerous efforts fail to affect stagnant drunken-driving statistics.


Driving stoned, carefree
Surveys show high school students are as likely to hit the road while high as they are while drunk.


Speeding right into a tragedy
After a high-speed crash kills a popular athlete, a Springfield high school finds peer pressure -- a key part of the problem -- could also be the solution.

Recent law invoked in teens' crash

Longer permit time, parents' pact on table
White gathers ideas on ways to cut accidents by young drivers.


Driving risky after school
Fatal crashes almost as common as on weekends, study says.


One hour on road
That's all Illinois requires for driver's ed as simulators, ranges take the place of street time to save costs.
Read the story >>
White to propose legislation enforcing on-road instruction Read the story >>

Meet Chip, teens' backseat driver
Susan Schauer never gave her teenage son the car keys without also handing him something he wasn't nearly as thrilled about--a small computer chip.


Learning lessons from teens' deaths
Deerfield focuses on kids, drinking.


Task force proposes new curbs for teens
Lengthening learner's permit period is key.


A careless instant, lives scarred forever
Crashes involving young drivers have taken a devastating toll in the numbers of deaths, injuries and financial loss.

3 weeks in a coma

Crash devastates a family, a town
After a wreck fatally injured his 18-year-old brother, Adam, Aaron Oates drove for help--now he faces drunken-driving charges.


Public reacts to teen-driving series
About 75 people contacted Tribune staff reporters Ted Gregory and John McCormick.


New teenage driving limits backed
Earlier night-driving restrictions proposed.


New laws urged for teenage drivers
The legislation aims at increasing the chances that teen drivers will return home safely.


Teen-driving reform vowed
Lawmakers pledged to push legislation that would make Illinois' licensing system one of the toughest in the nation.

Teens fail to see dangers

Getting tough saves teens
Stringent regulations for young drivers are working, experts say.


Tougher rules of road loom
Legislators back driving restrictions.
Read the story >>

House OKs teen driving bill
State lawmakers say Tribune series inspired reforms.
Read the story >>

Sweeping new rules of road
Law aimed at cutting Illinois driving deaths
Read the story >>

Parents sentenced for teen drinking
Mother avoids jail, father gets 14 days
Read the story >>



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