April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
The Illinois Insurance Association urges motorists to avoid distractions and drive with focus.
Illinois roadways have become dangerous, even deadly for an increasing number of police officers this year. The Illinois Insurance Association, a property casualty trade association, urges motorists to protect emergency responders and others by following traffic laws and committing to driving with focus. Driving distractions contribute to thousands of accidents each year. The result is often costly property damage, personal injury, even death.
The month of April is deemed National Distracted Driving Awareness Month to bring attention to the issue of distracted driving. There were 12,541 distracted driving-related motor vehicle crashes in Illinois in 2015 according to Illinois Department of Transportation statistics. These crashes injured 5,044 people and killed 21 individuals. Kevin Martin, Executive Director of the Illinois Insurance Association, encouraged motorists to take a stand against this pervasive issue.
The IIA's Kevin Martin said, "Distracted driving causes problems for motorists as well as first responders, tow truck operators and construction workers. The Illinois Insurance Association and its member companies encourage drivers to avoid distractions and remain fully engaged behind the wheel."
There are three broad categories of distractions that affect driving concentration. A visual distraction causes the motorist to take eyes off the road. A manual distraction results in the driver taking hands off the steering wheel. A cognitive distraction takes the motorist’s thoughts off driving. Driving distractions often involve all three areas.
Cell phones are an obvious distraction, but motorists face countless others every time they get in the car. Some distractions come from within the vehicle. These are activities like fine tuning temperature and audio controls, reading panel displays or navigational devices, snacking, talking to passengers, tending to children or pets, adjusting electronic devices, grooming and countless more. Other distractions are external disruptions that come from road signs, billboard displays, construction work, scenery and fellow travelers. Daydreaming and drowsiness also cause drivers to lose focus.
It is impossible to eliminate driving distractions altogether, but there are ways to reduce the risk. Martin encouraged to consider the following ideas:
The Illinois Insurance Association’s Executive Director concluded, “National Driving Distraction Awareness Month serves as a reminder that we all must do our part to make Illinois’ highways safe. Drivers that are distracted put everyone at risk. Instead, commit to being fully alert and ready to react when unexpected situations arise.”###
Study: Insurance Industry has Major Impact on Illinois' Economy
Findings from the Insurance Industry 2019 Economic Impact Study show that insurance companies fuel Illinois’ economy with quality jobs, revenue and investments.
Four insurance trade associations jointly released a study demonstrating the statewide economic impact of Illinois’ insurance industry today. The study was conducted by the Katie School of Insurance and Financial Services at Illinois State University and sponsored by the Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois, the Illinois Insurance Association, NAIFA and Illinois State Association of Health Underwriters.
“Home to the nation’s top insurers, the state of Illinois continues to benefit from the financial strength of the insurance industry,” said Phil Lackman, CEO of the Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois. “It’s clear that Illinois is not only a good place for insurers to do business, but the companies and agents that choose Illinois are also producing results for the state.”
Illinois property and casualty insurers paid nearly $70 billion in claims in 2017 representing a remarkable 21 percent of claims paid in the U.S. Illinois insurers play a unique role in helping to rebuild the nation after catastrophic losses.
“The success story of the Illinois insurance industry includes lessons on how to improve the overall business climate in Illinois,” said Kevin Martin, Executive Director of the Illinois Insurance Association. “It’s important that the state attract business while maintaining a balanced regulatory environment that allows companies to succeed and consumers to benefit.”
Some of the results highlighted in the report include:
Copies of this study along with all of the supporting documentation can be found at www.katieschoolstudies.org or www.InsuranceLegislativeDay.org.
Tips for Sharing the Road with Deer
Motorists are urged to drive cautiously in the weeks ahead
November is a month when deer are prone to appear along rural roads, highways and interstates suddenly and without warning. Seeing a deer is startling. Motorists may have just seconds to react. The Illinois Insurance Hotline, an industry-sponsored consumer resource, offered tips to help drivers reach their destinations safely.
Most important, do not swerve to avoid hitting the deer. It is never a good idea to suddenly change the direction of a moving vehicle. A sharp turn of the steering wheel may cause the driver to lose control. There is more risk of critical injury and major vehicle damage if you crash into a bridge, post, tree or oncoming car. Instead, take your foot off the gas, hold the steering wheel tight, maintain a straight course and brace for impact with the deer. There will be vehicle damage, but you are less likely to be hurt in the crash.
Other deer-related driving strategies:
Vehicle owners often turn to an auto insurance company for assistance following a deer crash. The Illinois Insurance Hotline reminded policyholders to find out what is and is not covered before an accident. For example, a liability-only policy does not pay for repairs to the policyholder's vehicle. Liability coverage is required by law and pays when the policyholder is legally responsible for another person's crash-related damages. A vehicle owner with liability -only coverage must pay vehicle repairs for a deer-related crash out-of-pocket.
The vehicle owner's auto policy must have physical damage coverage to share deer-related repair expenses with the insurance company. Physical damage is divided into two separate coverages - comprehensive and collision. Both typically have deductibles. A deer accident is covered as a comprehensive claim if there is evidence of direct contact with the deer. Without this, the crash is a collision loss. Comprehensive claims generally do not affect the policy premium. A surcharge is likely following a collision claim. Check with your local auto insurance agent for specifics.
The Illinois Insurance Hotline also recommends policyholders be familiar with their duties following a loss. Among these responsibilities:
Make Teen Driver Safety Top Priority
National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 21 – 27, 2018
Inexperience is one of the leading causes of teen driving accidents, pointing to a need for greater parent and school involvement and continuing driving education.
Nearly half of all teen drivers will experience a car crash before graduating from high school. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) cites two main reasons for this trend. First, parents are becoming less involved in training teen drivers once they receive their licenses. NHTSA also found parents are not regularly reinforcing teen driving safety measures.
A recent report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) notes there has been progress over the last ten years to curb teen crashes, but beginning drivers are still 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a car accident than adults.
Illinois has made important strides to improve teen driver safety. Among these measures are laws banning the hand-held use of mobile devices while driving and a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system that gives beginning drivers more supervised time behind the wheel before graduating to full licensure. As a result, teen driving fatality crashes have decreased by sixty percent in Illinois since 2008.
The Illinois Insurance Association, a property casualty trade association, and its members companies recognize that while progress has been made, more needs to be done to protect teen drivers and their passengers. In the month of October and throughout the year, IIA encourages Illinois residents to embrace safe driving initiatives for teens. Encourage young motorists to adopt safe driving practices such as no drinking and driving, no distracted driving, no extra passengers, no speeding and consistent seatbelt use. These behaviors are statistically linked to teen driver crashes. The NHTSA’s website (nhtsa.gov) is a great resource for teen driver safety tips and statistics. In addition, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have created a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement to promote safer outcomes.
Teen driver safety is everyone’s responsibility. Parents, schools, the insurance industry, all branches of government, and other stakeholders should work collaboratively to promote initiatives, rules and policies that will protect young drivers’ lives in Illinois and across the country.
Tips to Make School Traffic Zones Safer
IIA reminds motorists to drive with caution as children return to school in the coming weeks.
Adopting good back-to-school habit applies to drivers across Illinois as well as students.
Keeping school traffic zones safe should be a top priority for motorists. On average, 131 Americans die every year in school transportation-related crashes according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Seventy-five percent of crashes involving young pedestrians occur between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., when children are on their way to and home from school.
School traffic safety requires collaboration at many levels. The insurance industry, along with school officials, parents, police officers and man others, wants children to be safe when getting to and from school. The Illinois Insurance Association provides a comprehensive list of tips designed to reduce the number of school transportation-related accidents this school year.
IIA asks drivers to observe the following rules for back-to-school traffic safety.
INSURANCE ASSOCIATION SUPPORTS PLAN TO TOUGHEN NO-TEXTING-WHILE-DRIVING LAW
No more warnings: measure would penalize drivers for first offense
Kevin Martin, Executive Director of the Illinois Insurance Association, issued the following statement in support of Representative John D’Amico’s proposed legislation (House Bill 4846) toughening Illinois’ law against operating an electronic device while driving:
Illinois’ insurance companies know texting while driving can kill – and it only takes one time. That’s why it makes sense to penalize drivers every time they break the law, starting with the first violation.
Currently, drivers can be fined up to $75 the second time they’re caught using a handheld electronic device while driving; state law allows them to get off with a warning for their first offense. We applaud Rep. D’Amico for working to close this loophole and show drivers that Illinois is serious about putting down the phone and driving.
While texting isn’t the only distraction behind the wheel, it is particularly dangerous. Reading or typing an average text at highway speeds means driving the length of a football field without looking at the road or other vehicles. In 2015, 3,744 Americans died and almost 400,000 were injured in crashes caused by distracted driving.
IIA believes decreasing the death toll requires public education and awareness, but also consistent law enforcement. A warning isn’t enough to discourage this risky behavior that endangers offending drivers, their passengers and others sharing the road with them.
IIA was proud this month to recognize Rep. D’Amico as 2018 Legislator of the Year for his traffic safety work, spanning more than 10 years. We strongly support his current effort to toughen the law on texting while driving.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month: IIA Honors Representative John D'Amico
Association Reminds Illinois Drivers to "Just Drive"
Springfield, IL - This April, the Illinois Insurance Association (IIA) is joining with its member insurance companies, law enforcement and community leaders to remind Illinois motorists of all ages to focus on the road while driving. The awareness campaign coincides with the IIA's annual lobby day activities that includes recognition of State Representative John D'Amico as legislator of the year.
"The Illinois Insurance Association and its member insurance companies are committed to helping Illinois motorists stay safe and choosing to avoid distractions is something simple all drivers can do to increase their chances of avoiding an accident and getting home alive," said Kevin Martin, IIA Executive Director.
"Illinois motorists across the state have found a faithful advocate in Representative D'Amico," said Elise Spriggs, Chair of IIA. "During Distracted Driving Awareness month, we honor him as a safe driving champion with years of effective advocacy for safer roads."
Representative D'Amico was chosen as legislator of the year for traffic safety work that spans over ten years. Most recently he spearheaded policies and practices that discourage distracted driving including banning hand-held devices and passing a ban on texting while driving.
His legislative biography also includes work on the Graduated Drivers License program that has contributed to a 50 percent drop in teen fatalities since 2007. Other lifesaving policies include his work on the Blood Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device that has contributed to a 67 percent reduction in repeat drunk driving offenses.
John D'Amico was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 2005. He currently serves as Chairman of the Illinois House Transportation: Vehicle and Safety Committee.
"It is great to see insurance companies and safety advocates raise awareness to the problem of distracted driving on Illinois roadways," said Representative D'Amico. "I am proud of the work we've done in the General Assembly on this issue and remain committed to improving traffic safety in the future."
Every day in the United States, distracted driving - engaging in any activity that takes attention away from driving - claims an average of nine lives and injures more than 1,000 drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Driving distractions can include texting, but also eating, adjusting the radio or GPS, speaking on a hand-held phone, talking with passengers, or anything else that takes the motorist's eyes or focus off the road.
"The number of deadly traffic accidents has increased sharply in the past two years. The Illinois Insurance Association, Representative D'Amico and other advocates across the state want drivers to know they can make decisions to keep from becoming part of that statistic," said Spriggs. "From new apps to eating on the run, life in 2018 presents countless reasons for drivers to lose focus behind the steering wheel. Don't fall for the distractions. Just drive."
Illinois Insurance Association promotes campaign for safe teen driving
National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 15-21, 2017
Springfield, IL - The Illinois Insurance Association (IIA) will observe National Teen Driver Safety Week from October 15-21. Partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), the IIA endorses the national "5 to Drive" campaign, an initiative to teach young drivers safe habits behind the wheel.
"Teens can get around safely when they follow the rules of the road and make the choice not to drive distracted or impaired," said Kevin Martin, IIA's Executive Director. "The Illinois Insurance Association and its members are committed to promoting initiatives that improve safety on Illinois roadways, and supporting teen drivers is a critical part of that mission."
Even as fatalities among teen drivers decreased by 53 percent between 2005 and 2014, motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death among teenagers. In 2015, almost 2,000 teen drivers of passenger vehicles were involved in fatal traffic accidents. An estimated 99,000 drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 were injured in motor vehicle collisions.
"The NHTSA's '5 to Drive' campaign offers parents and caregivers tips for talking with their teens about risky driving behaviors that can have devastating consequences," Martin said. "IIA encourages families to use these resources to help our newest drivers safely navigate Illinois' roadways."
At www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/teen-driving, the NHTSA provides detailed information and statistics on teen driving an five basic rules that can help save lives:
1. No drinking and driving. In 2014, one in five teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking, despite being too young to legally purchase or possess alcohol Driving under the influence of any impairing substance, including illicit or prescription drugs, can have deadly consequences.
2. Buckle up. Seat belts save lives, and it's important for teen drivers and their passengers - in both the front and back seats - to buckle up on every trip. In 2014, 59 percent of passengers who died in crashes involving teen drivers were not wearing seat belts at the time of the accident. When the driver was unrestrained, the percentage of passengers who were not buckled up jumped to almost 86 percent.
3. Don't drive distracted. Illinois has worked to reduce the number of distracted driving accidents by enacting a ban on the use of all hand-held devices while driving. Violators of this law face fines of $75 or more. Illegal use of an electronic device while driving can include texting but also checking email, using apps, programming a GPS and talking on a hand-held phone.
Distracted driving isn't limited to electronic device use. Other passengers, audio and climate controls in the vehicle and even eating and drinking can impair a driver's focus.
In 2014, 10 percent of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were reportedly distracted at the time of the crash.
4. Stop speeding before it stops you. Speeding is a critical risk factor for all drivers, especially teens. In 2014, almost one-third of teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in a fatal crash were speeding at the time.
5. No more than one passenger at a time. According to data analyzed by the NHTSA, teen drivers were two-an-a-half times more likely to engage in a potentially risky behavior when driving with one teenaged peer compared to when they were driving alone. That likelihood tripled when a teen driver was traveling with multiple passengers.
Illinois Insurance Association Offers Back-to-School Traffic Safety Tips
(Springfield) - As students across the state engage in their first full month back to school, they aren't the only Illinoisans who need to get back in the school habit this month, according to the Illinois Insurance Association; so do drivers.
Every year on average, 142 Americans die in school transportation-related crashes, and September is the deadliest month for pedestrians under the age of 18. Forty percent of crashes involving young pedestrians occur between the hours of 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., when children make their way home from school and after-school activities.
'Even one child injured or killed on the way to or from school is too many, so we are reminding drivers to stay alert and practice safe driving habits around schools, school buses and students on foot," said Kevin Martin, Executive Director of the Illinois Insurance Association. "We believe following these tips will save lives this September and for the rest of the school year."
IIA is asking Illinois drivers to follow these rules for back-to-school traffic safety:
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.
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.
10-17-16Springfield, 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, www.safercar.gov/parents, has detailed information and statistics on teen driving and five basic rules parents can use to help save the lives of teen drivers:
driving under the influence of any impairing substance, including illicit or prescription drugs, could have deadly consequences.
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.