Illinois’ New Traffic Laws For 2015

2014 was a busy year for the Illinois Legislature and outgoing Governor Quinn. Many new laws were passed, including several new traffic and boating laws. Below is a recap of the relevant laws that went into effect on January 1, 2015.

Higher Tollway Speed Limits

Senate Bill 2015, clarified an earlier bill that raised the speed limit to 70 mph on some highways and interstates. This new bill (which was vetoed by Governor Quinn and later overridden by the Illinois House) raises the speed limit on tollways and expressways in and around the Chicago area and metro east St. Louis. The earlier bill did not include the Chicago or St. Louis areas.

Change In Traffic Stops

A new law sponsored by Senator Mike Noland, an Elgin Democrat, allows drivers who are ticketed for minor traffic stops like speeding, are no longer required to hand over their license as a bond assuring they will appear in Court. Now ticketed drivers can sign an agreement promising to pay the ticket or to appear in Court.

Second, there was a new bill outlawing ticket quota systems by police agencies.

New Boating Laws

Sen. Julie Morrison, a Deerfield Democrat, won approval for a new law that requires a boat that’s towing someone to display an orange flag.  This bill was passed in honor of the 2012 death of Libertyville 10-year-old Tony Borcia. Tony died after he fell off a tube being towed in the Chain O’ Lakes and was hit by another boater.

Another allows police to seize the craft of an intoxicated boater in some cases.

As always, I will continue to post and analyze any new proposed or passed Illinois traffic laws.

If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Illinois boating accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

IDOT Releases Map Of 70 MPH Speed Limits

As reported by the Chicago
Tribune, 
the Illinois Department of Transportation has released a map
of the interstates that will have a 70 mph speed limit starting on January 1,
2014. 1,900 of the state’s nearly 2,170
miles of interstate will be able to travel at 70 mph instead of the
existing speed limits, generally 65.  But only about 30 percent of the
Illinois Tollway’s 286-mile network will get the higher speed limit, according
to a map released by IDOT. And in the Chicago area, the 70-mph limit will be
posted only on five fairly short stretches of interstate. Those are sections of
I-80 and I-55 in Will County, a stretch of I-57 in far southern Cook County and
all of Will County, a portion of the I-88 toll road in far western Kane County
and part of the I-94 tollway in northern Lake County.

The sponsor of the bill,
Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, is not pleased
at all with the lack of 70 mph speed limits around the Chicago area. Orberweis
told the
 Tribune, “It’s just clear that they (IDOT) are
disregarding the will of the people.” 

In a
statement, IDOT said the new speeds will be placed on interstate stretches
“where deemed reasonable and  
safe.” Department spokesman
Paris Ervin said the agency conducted traffic engineering studies of all
locations with limits below the existing 65-mph maximum and “other
locations deemed necessary.”

I think
this change in speed limits makes sense for most of the interstates around
Illinois. As I have written about in the past, drivers rarely follow the 65 mph
speed limit for the most part anyway. The question that remains is whether this
will make the interstates more dangerous and more prone to deadly car accidents. I will be following closely to see if the amount of auto accidents
in these areas increases and/or the number of fatal car crashes increases now
that the speed limit is higher.

If you or someone you
love has been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then
call Chicago personal injury attorney for a free legal consultation at
312-588-3384. 

 


Illinois Tollway Study Shows Majority Of Drivers Do Not Obey Speed Limits

The Chicago Tribune reported this week that recent tollway studies in Illinois revealed that the majority of drivers do not drive within the marked speed limits on highways. Tollway engineers tracked speed limits for drivers along I-94 in Lake County and found that about 1 in 20 drivers obeyed the speed limit. 


The data, gathered in April, May and September, showed that, depending on which tollway stretch was tested, 91 to 98 percent of drivers exceeded the 55 mph speed limit. In those stretches, the average speed ranged from 66 to 70 mph.

The studies followed a 2012 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report that showed that average highway speeds increased to almost 71 mph in 2009 from 65 mph two years earlier. At the same time, traffic accident fatalities — 33,561 last year — are dropping, except for a slight increase in 2012. The report concluded that the higher speeds might have been the product of less speed enforcement in 2009 and fewer cars on the road that year, leading to less congestion.

Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said she was reluctant to draw conclusions from the Tollway data. Vehicles would have been more likely to slow down if their drivers had seen a state police squad car than engineers atop overpasses, she said.

This is an alarming trend and will need to be tracked closely as the speed limit on many Illinois highways will increase to 70 mph on January 1, 2014. Will drivers now feel more confident to drive even faster while on the highway? Will this lead to more car accidents and traffic fatalities? This is a concern that the Illinois Department of Transportation should follow closely along with Illinois lawmakers.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago traffic accident or a Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney Aaron Bryant for a free legal consultation at 312-588-3384. 

IL Governor Quinn Signs Bill Increasing Speed Limit To 70 MPH

I discussed on this blog
in the past about the bill increasing the Illinois speed limit on interstate
highways to 70 mph. As the Chicago Tribune reported last week,
Governor Quinn signed the bill into law. Quinn signed the measure despite opposition
from the Illinois Department of Transportation, state police and leading
roadway safety organizations, who feared increased mayhem on the highways,
especially between cars and trucks. 

The speed limit in
Illinois is 55 mph in metropolitan areas and 65 on rural highways. But on
January 1, 2013, Illinois will become the 37th state to approve
limits of 70 mph or higher since the national speed limit was repealed almost two
decades ago. Under the measure, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will
counties could keep their maximum speed limits below 70 mph if they so choose.
Opponents argue that higher speeds will lead to an increase in trafficfatalities and make it more difficult for large trucks to stop to avoid vehiclecollisions.

I believe this is a
legitimate concern raised by the Illinois Department of Transportation. Some of
the most violent auto accidents occur when a 16 wheeler truck is unable to stop
on time and they end up rear-ending much smaller vehicles. The chance for
injuries as a result of these auto accidents are much higher now as trucks will
be driving at higher rates. I will be interested in seeing a year or two of
studies that will tell us whether (a) there are more auto accidents on highways
that have the 70 mph limit, and (b) whether significant injuries and fatalities
rise.

If you or someone you
love has been injured in a Chicago truck accident or Chicago car crash, then
call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-588-3384. 

AAA Opposes Illinois Speed Limit Increase

According to The
Wall Street Journal, 
AAA is adamantly opposed to the Illinois Senate
Bill 2356, which proposes to increase the interstate speed limit 70 miles per
hour. 

“The Illinois legislature should not
ignore the enormous speeding problem Illinois already has on its
roadways,” said Brad Roeber, president of AAA Chicago. “Speeding
accounts for more than half of Illinois’ over 900 roadway fatalities, and this
problem cannot be fixed by letting cars and trucks travel faster.”

The data on speeding are clear. From
2008-2011, Illinois’ roadway fatalities dropped 12 percent; but those
fatalities due to speeding rose nearly 14 percent. Furthermore, in 2010 and
2011, Illinois speed limits for large trucks were raised to 65 mph. Over this
time, there has been a 39 percent increase in fatalities involving large
trucks.

“Make no mistake, this bill allows large
trucks to travel even faster on our roadways. The majority of large-truck
fatalities involve motorists, who unfortunately don’t stand a chance against an
80,000 pound vehicle traveling at high speeds,” said Roeber.  In
2011, AAA noted in their Crashes vs. Congestion study that a conservative
estimate of the cost to society for each fatal car crash was $6 million. 

I wrote about this issue last week after the
bill passed through the Senate. My issue with the Bill was whether there were
any studies available regarding the dangers on the roadways based on a higher
speed limit. No surprise, AAA has researched this issue, and they are convinced
there will be me traffic accidents and traffic fatalities if drivers
(specifically truck drivers) are allowed to drive faster on highways. I would
like to see an independent study on this issue before I conclude whether this
Bill should be enacted into law.

If you or someone you love has been seriously
injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney Aaron Bryant for a free legal consultation at
312-588-3384. 

Illinois Senate Bill Would Raise Speed Limit To 70 On Interstates

The Chicago
Tribune
 reported this week that the Illinois Senate passed a measure
41 to 6 that raise the speed limit to 70 miles per hour on interstates and toll
ways. It is interesting to point out that the bill would allow Cook County and
Suburban St. Louis counties to opt out of the measure. The current top speed on Illinois interstates is 65
mph.

Sponsoring Sen. Jim
Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, said the change would bring Illinois in line with the
more than 30 states that allow drivers to go 70 or 75 mph. Oberweis said the
higher speed would allow commerce to move faster. Oberweis said it would save
time for his delivery services as well as countless other companies, calling
the bill “business-friendly.”

This bill will no doubt
be supported by truck drivers and trucking companies and by those who make the
arduous drive from Chicago to St. Louis down I-55. The question I have is
whether there would be any safety ramifications for drivers. That is, will the
higher speed limit make drivers more susceptible to auto accidents? The article
does not mention any safety studies that have been performed on this issue.

If you or someone you
know has been seriously injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truckaccident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney Aaron Bryant for a freelegal consultation at 312-588-3384.

Illinois Increases Speed Limit For Semi Trucks to 65 MPH

Illinois truck drivers are celebrating in the streets from Belleville to Joliet. Well, maybe not, but truckers are definitely happy as a new law will allow them to drive 65 mph on interstate highways outside of St. Louis and Chicago.

Governor Quinn signed the bill, and it goes into effect on January 1, 2010. 

“Its very long time overdue,” says Canadian carrier Jack Wyszotski.

“I appreciate being able to set it on cruise control at 60 miles per hour and being able to cruise on through Illinois,” explains driver Jo Anne Nelson. “Because it’s a long state from north to south, and it takes a long time at the “double nickel.””

Nelson has been a trucker for more than 20 years and has logged more than 2-million accident free miles behind the wheel. She says, this isn’t only about convenience, its about safety…

“More than anything else, you can flow with the traffic, which is better than being held up and holding up traffic. I think its really a reasonable thing. Its more dangerous the other way.”

lllinois is one of the last states in the nation to increase their semi-truck speed limit.  This will hopefully make the interstates safer. We will see.

To read the complete story about this law change, click here.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an Illinois car accident or  an Illinois truck accident, then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.