According to the National Cancer Institute, secondhand tobacco smoke causes at least 65,000 deaths in the United States each year from heart disease and lung cancer. Nearly 3,000 of these deaths are citizens of Illinois. The largest percentage of this population are employees working in bars and restaurants. Senator Cullerton sponsored and passed Senate Bill 500, creating a statewide smoking ban in public places. This ban was enacted to protect the rights of employees in the workplace. It is estimated that 8 people in Illinois die everyday from the effects of secondhand smoke. By eliminating smoking in public places a healthy environment is created for employees as well as the rest of the individuals in our state.
Throughout his service in the Illinois State Senate, Senator Cullerton has dedicated his himself to traffic safety. Of his most proud legislative accomplishments, Senator Cullerton spearheaded the state's mandatory safety belt law and the Child Passenger Safety Act. Because of this significant contribution to Illinois law, Senator Cullerton was selected as the National Award Winner in the State and Local Government category for the "Buckle Up America Award" - an honor for which he was selected from over 160 entries throughout the United States.
During the 95th General Assembly, Senator Cullerton continued his efforts to protect the lives of Illinois children through his sponsorship of several traffic safety measures. He understands that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 4 and 14 and sponsored legislation that will help to solve this crisis. Building off of the success of Senator Cullerton's previous legislative efforts, he amended the Child Passenger Protection Act to ensure that trucks and truck tractors also provide appropriate child restraint systems for children under the age of 8 years old. In addition, he sponsored and passed the Graduated Driver's License bill. This bill ensures that drivers under 18 years old cannot have more than one passenger in their vehicle for the first six months they receive their license, except for family members. These new laws will help save many more Illinoisans and Senator Cullerton is proud to have played a large role in their passage.