Itasca, IL – John Ulczycki, director of the National Safety Council’s Transportation Safety Group, today was named to Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s newly formed Graduated Driver License Task Force.
The task force, consisting of Illinois lawmakers, safety experts, law enforcement officials and educators, will conduct a series of public hearings across the state and examine existing laws and proposals to improve teen driving laws designed to reduce fatal crashes involving teen drivers.
“I commend Secretary White for his continued efforts to protect teens and all other motorists in Illinois,” Ulczycki said. “The strengthening of GDL laws across the nation has made a great difference toward making our roads safer. However, more can and needs to be done. I look forward to working with the Secretary and the task force in considering stronger GDL requirements and building greater involvement from parents, schools, the driver education community and other stakeholders.”
The creation of the task force follows action this summer by White, State Rep. John D’Amico (D-15) and State Sen. John Cullerton (D-6) to strengthen the Illinois GDL program by doubling the practice time young drivers will need to obtain an Illinois driver’s license. They successfully initiated a new law requiring parents to spend 50 hours with their child in the car, including 10 hours of night driving. In addition, parents must sign a consent form before the teen may apply for a driver’s license.
Ulczycki, who leads NSC's public education and advocacy initiatives on teen drivers, safety belts, impaired driving and distracted driving, testified before the Illinois State Senate in support of that bill. He is leading efforts to educate parents about the risks associated with young drivers. Among his initiatives is development of the 2nd International Research Symposium on GDL, which NSC will host in February 2007.
“I want to thank John for serving on this task force and the National Safety Council for its commitment to prevent accidents and make our roads and highways safer for motorists,” White said. “Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for people age 15 to 20. I look forward to working with all the esteemed members of the Graduated Driver License Task Force to enhance the safety of young, novice drivers and reduce fatal crashes involving teen drivers.”
Ulczycki, who works with elected officials across the country to pass stronger GDL laws, noted that teen drivers nationally represent only six percent of the driving population, yet they are involved in nearly 14 percent of all fatal motor vehicle crashes.
Ulczycki also serves as the executive director of the Air Bag and Seat Belt Safety Campaign, a public-private partnership with the automotive and insurance industries and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
A native of Bettendorf, Iowa, and a father of six children including five young drivers, Ulczycki and his wife Patricia reside in Wilmette, IL.
The National Safety Council (nsc.org) saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads through leadership, research, education and advocacy.