IL Tollway Driver’s Education Safety Series
Firm: WSP USA, Morreale Strategic Communications & Sanchez & Associates, P.C.
Other Consultants: Illinois Tollway, Morreale Communications, WSP USA, Sanchez and Associates
Owner: Illinois Tollway
Description:The Illinois Tollway is proud of its longstanding commitment to roadway safety. As part of this commitment, WSP, USA has led the development and delivery of an innovative, ground-floor approach to driver’s safety that could stand to make a positive impact on roadway safety for years to come.
The award-winning collaboration between the Illinois Tollway and the Illinois High School and College Driver’s Education Association (IHSCDEA) has for the last three years been delivering roadway safety instruction to drivers through the development and delivery of curriculum to more than 700 teachers, 600 classrooms, and 5,000 students across Illinois. This innovative partnership has unlocked a key pipeline for educational materials linking critical safety information directly with new drivers.
In 2020, this collaboration won the National Safety Council Teen Safety Award, which recognizes an individual or organization that improves teen safety and saves lives.
Car crashes remain the number one cause of death for teens between ages 16 and 19 according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which also reports that six teens in that age group die every day from road crashes. A 2015 study at the Nebraska Prevention Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse showed that drivers who had not taken a driver education course were 75% more likely to get a ticket, 24% more likely to be in a crash involving an injury or fatality, and 16% more likely to be involved in a crash. These facts highlighted the need for and benefit of additional education. By focusing on specific topics, the modules highlight important points clearly for students that may not be fully addressed in all class-rooms. With students learning the correct way to handle situations at the outset, they are less likely to develop bad habits or make dangerous decisions when in those scenarios.
With the assistance of the Illinois State Police District 15, IHSCDEA, Tollway engineers, traffic operations, and roadway maintenance personnel, WSP, USA and their team has led the development and delivery of educational materials on critical issues such as Illinois’s move over law, winter preparedness materials and most recently critical information stressing the importance of staying in your vehicle when stranded on a high-speed roadway.
Through the creative development of materials such as “Get Winter Ready” and “Give Them Distance”, these key preparedness and potentially life-saving tools are now readily available in an “open source” format for anyone to use. This year, the Illinois Tollway and IHSCDEA developed a new edition in the series, with the theme “Sit Tight, Stay Safe” in response to a heartfelt request by Tollway staff to an increasing number of pedestrians exiting their vehicles putting themselves in harms way.
Moving forward, the Tollway is committed to an annual supplement to the materials as critical safety issues arise.