| SPRINGFIELD, IL - The Illinois State Police (ISP) announced today it is partnering with State Farm Insurance in an effort to educate drivers, particularly those age 16 - 19, on the importance of wearing their seat belts. Director Larry G. Trent was joined today by State Farm and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) officials at the ISP’s State Fair tent to accept a seat belt “Convincer”. The innovative safety education tool allows an individual to experience how a safety belt protects them from injury when they are involved in a crash. Once a rider is properly restrained into the Convincer’s seat, they ride to the bottom of the slide and experience a five to seven mph crash. “The death of a friend or family member in a traffic crash is a terrible loss and it is particularly tragic when teens are involved,” said ISP Director Larry G. Trent. “We appreciate the support of companies like State Farm Insurance who continually assist us in our mission to save lives.” |
While the Convincer will be used to educate audiences of all ages, its primary target will be teenage drivers. Statistics indicate that 148 teens lost their lives in traffic crashes in Illinois during 2005. So far in 2006, 94 teens have died as a result of being involved in a traffic crash. Tragically, in Tazewell County alone, there has been a 400 percent increase in teen traffic crash fatalities during the past year and a half. “As the nation’s largest insurer of automobiles, State Farm feels compelled to take a leadership position on this issue through grant support projects like the Convincer. We will continue to focus on the safety of families in this partnering with the Illinois State Police,” said Willie Feagin, Auto Claims Manager.
"The good news is people are buckling up in Illinois,” said IDOT Traffic Safety Director Mike Stout. “Seat belt compliance is at an all time high of 88 percent for front seat occupants, and occupant safety programs such as the Convincer will assist us to remind people of the importance of buckling up." Safety Education Officers will use the device during the Illinois State Fair and at safety education presentations around the state.