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Illinois Insurance Association Observes Distracted Driving Month

This April, the Illinois Insurance Association (IIA) announces it is joining with its member insurance companies, law enforcement and community leaders to spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving. April is Distracted Driving Month, and IIA and its partners will step up the effort to equip drivers with facts and life-saving tips.

"The Illinois Insurance Association and its members are committed to making our state's roadways safer for everyone by educating drivers about dangerous distractions and their deadly consequences," said Kevin Martin, IIA Executive Director. "We believe an effective fight against distracted driving includes public awareness, legal enforcement and good choices made by ordinary drivers every day."

IIA is also working with AAA and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police to pass a resolution declaring April 24-28 Distracted Driving Week in Illinois.

Distracted driving - engaging in at activity that takes a driver's attention away from driving - claims thousands of lives each year and injures hundreds of thousands more.

  • 3,744 deaths attributed to distracted driving in the U.S. in 2015
  • 391,000 injuries in 2015 due to crashes that involved distracted driving

Distracted driving can include texting but also eating, adjusting the radio or GPS, talking on a hand-held phone, talking with passengers in the car or anything else that takes the driver's eyes or focus off the road.

Cell phones are a particular concern because of their prevalence on the road; each day, approximately 660,000 Americans use them while driving, according to the national Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Sending or reading an average text takes a driver's eyes off the road for five seconds; at highway speeds that's the equivalent of driving the length of a football field or longer without looking up.

"A wide variety of technologies and demands compete for drivers' attention," said Martin. "IIA's message is that when you're driving, getting to your destination safely is the only job you have that matters. We are proud to work with law enforcement and our other community partners to get that message to the public."



IIA Tips for Safer Holiday Travel

As Illinois families it the road this holiday season to see friends and relatives, the Illinois Insurance Association (IIA) wants to remind drivers of a few travel safety tips that will help prevent car accidents and save them money.

"Nearly two million drivers will travel across the state this month. It is during the holidays that the insurance industry records the highest number of car accidents throughout the year," said IIA Executive director, Kevin Martin. "We are committed to helping Illinois drivers stay safe during this joyous season, which is why we have compiled the following list of tips for safer holiday travel."

- Prior to your scheduled trip, make sure your vehicle has had all necessary service and maintenance inspections. If your vehicle is not reliable for a long trip, consider renting one to help prevent further wear and tear or a potential break-down or accident.

- Check to ensure your auto insurance is up to date and that you have a valid insurance card in your vehicle prior to leaving. You might also consider adding roadside assistance if you do not currently have it.

- Plan your travel schedule and route a few days prior to departure. Consider leaving earlier or later than the popular times to avoid busy roads and heavy traffic. Additionally, share your route with someone back home in case of emergency.

- Pack all necessary tools and gadgets for a safe and comfortable trip such as a reliable navigation system, cellphone and charger, snow scraper, first-aid kit, jumper cables, spare tire, extra blankets, snacks and water.

- Properly retrain yourself and passengers in seat belts or car seat prior to departure. Remember th safest place for children to sit is in the rear seat of your vehicle.

- Stay alert when driving long distances. Make sure to schedule rest stops in your travel plan to avoid tiredness and a potential accident.

- Respect the rules of the road, which includes following the speed limit, stopping completely at stop signs an lights, and not using your cell phone while driving. Distracted driving is the number one cause of accidents across the country.

- Keep valuables and gifts locked in your trunk and covered to avoid a break-in at stops along your trip.

- Make sure to designate a sober driver if there will be drinking at a holiday function.



Springfield, IL—The Illinois Insurance Association (IIA) joins the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) during National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 16-22) to promote teen safe driving and the national “5 to Drive” campaign, which is an initiative to teach young drivers the rules of the road.

“Distracted and impaired driving are the two leading causes of teen driving-related fatalities and injuries each year,” said IIA Director Kevin Martin. “The Illinois Insurance Association and its members are committed to helping promote teen-safe driving initiatives that will improve safety on Illinois roadways. The NHTSA’s ‘5 to Drive’ campaign is an excellent initiative that offers parents and caregivers some tips to talk to their teen drivers about dangerous driving behaviors that can lead to devastating consequences.”

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in teens, ahead of all other types of injury, disease or violence. In 2014, 2,679 teen (15-19 years old) passenger vehicle drivers were involved in fatal traffic crashes, resulting in 3,004 deaths nationally. An estimated 123,000 teen passenger vehicle drivers were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes.

Since 2014, Illinois has worked to reduce the number of distracted driving accidents by legislating a ban on the use of all hand-held devices while driving. Anyone who is caught using a hand-held device is subject to a fine starting at $75. Parents can play an important role in helping ensure their teen drivers take smart steps to stay safe on the road by explaining all driving restrictions outlined in Illinois’ graduated driver licensing (GDL) law and the deadly consequences of unsafe driving practices.

The NHTSA “5 to Drive” campaign gives parents tips on how to talk about safe driving behaviors with their teens and address the five most dangerous and deadly driving behaviors for teen drivers: alcohol, lack of seat belt use, distracted driving, speeding, and extra passengers, said Martin.

NHTSA’s website,, has detailed information and statistics on teen driving and five basic rules parents can use to help save the lives of teen drivers:

  1. No Drinking and Driving. All teens are too young to legally buy or possess alcohol, but they are still at risk. Nationally in 2014, one out of five teen passenger vehicle drivers (15 to 19 years old) involved in fatal crashes had been drinking. Remind your teen that

driving under the influence of any impairing substance, including illicit or prescription drugs, could have deadly consequences.

  1. Buckle Up. Every Trip, Every Time, Everyone—Front Seat and Back. Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest ways for teens to stay safe in a vehicle. Yet, too many teens New Releasesare not buckling up and neither are their passengers. In 2014, there were 763 passengers killed in passenger vehicles driven by teen (15-19 years old) drivers, and 59 percent of those passengers who died were NOT buckled up at the time of the fatal crash. When the teen driver was also unrestrained, the percentage of those passengers who were not restrained jumped to almost 86 percent. Remind your teen that it’s important for everyone to buckle up on every trip, every time, no matter what.

  1. Eyes on the Road, Hands on the Wheel. All the Time. – Distractions while driving are more than just risky—they can be deadly. In 2014, among teen passenger vehicle drivers (15-19 years old) involved in fatal crashes, 10 percent were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. Remind your teen about the dangers of texting, dialing, or using mobile apps while driving. But distracted driving isn’t limited to cell phone use. Other passengers, audio and climate controls in the vehicle, and eating or drinking while driving, are all examples of dangerous distractions for teen drivers.
  1. Stop Speeding Before It Stops You. Speeding is a critical issue for all drivers, especially teens. In 2014, almost one-third (30%) of teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in a fatal crash were speeding at the time of the crash. Remind your teen to drive within the speed limit.
  1. No More Than One Passenger at a Time. Extra passengers in a teen’s car can lead to disastrous results. According to data analyzed by NHTSA, teen drivers were two-and-a-half times more likely to engage in one or more potentially risky behaviors when driving with one teenage peer compared to when driving alone. And the likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behaviors triples when traveling with multiple passengers.

Parents can help protect their teen drivers by talking with them about these risks. Surveys show that teens whose parents set firm rules for driving typically engage in less risky driving behaviors and are involved in fewer crashes.

“Safe-driving campaigns and state laws are not enough to protect teen drivers. It is imperative that parents help properly prepare young drivers before they get behind the wheel,” said Kevin Martin. “IIA and its members will continue to promote and support teen-safe driving initiatives not only in the month of October, but throughout the year.”



ICYMI: Illinois governor signs legislation curbing bad towing practices

(Springfield, Ill.) - Reprieve for Illinois car owners and insurance companies from rogue towers is the aim of legislation approved by Governor Bruce Rauner on August 19, 2016. Strengthening the penalty against individuals or companies that improperly solicit to tow, Senate Bill 2261 provides several consumer protections and legal enhancements to victims of abusive towing and vehicle storage practices.

Illinois Insurance Association (IIA), Executive Director Kevin Martin, applauds Gov. Rauner for his support of this important piece of legislation that will save consumers and insurers millions of dollars a year. “The support we garnered from both sides of the aisle and the Governor on this issue was critical in helping stop the abusive practices of rogue towing in Chicago and across the state. We look forward to continuing to work with the Governor to pass future laws that protect both insurers and consumers.”

This law tackles a major problem in the Chicago area, as several towing companies have continued to abuse the system by showing up at a scene of an accident and towing a vehicle without notice. Car owners and insurance companies are then forced to pay anywhere between $2,000 and $3,000 to reclaim their vehicle after days and even weeks of attempting to locate it.

Under Senate Bill 2261, car insurance companies would be able to bring a claim against rogue tow companies on behalf of policyholders. The new provision gives insurance companies the ability to sue towing companies for all costs and expenses associated with an improper tow. Additionally, a person or company who improperly solicits to tow at an accident scene would be guilty of a Class 4 felony rather than a business offense with fines capped at $1000.

Another important aspect of Senate Bill 2261 is that it also creates the 16-member Statewide Relocation Towing Licensure Commission—charged with evaluating current towing laws, identifying problems, and making recommendations to the Governor and the Illinois General Assembly by July 1, 2017.

Senate Bill 2261 goes into effect immediately.



Legislation to curb rogue towing advances to the Governor

SPRINGFIELD - Curbing the practice of rogue towing in Chicagoland is near, as a measure to strengthen the penalty against individuals or companies that improperly solicit to tow advanced in the Illinois General Assembly.

Spearheaded by the Illinois Insurance Association (IIA), Executive Director Kevin Martin advocates that “vehicle owners should be given more tools to protect their property and their pocketbook against the abusive practices of rogue tow companies. This bill stiffens penalties and raises the legal stakes against companies engaged in the abusive towing and storage practices that cost consumers and insurers over half a billion dollars every year in the United States.”

Under Senate Bill 2261, car insurance companies would be able to bring a claim against rogue tow companies on behalf of covered policyholders. The new provision gives insurance companies the ability to sue towing companies for all costs and expenses associated with an improper tow. Additionally, a person or company who improperly solicits to tow at an accident scene would be guilty of a Class 4 felony rather than a business offense with fines capped at $1000.

Senate Bill 2261 will be sent to the Governor Bruce Rauner for his signature.