New Illinois Traffic Laws For 2017

January is almost over and I thought it would be important to list the new traffic laws that went into effect in 2017:

  1. Scott’s Law, also referred to as the “move over” law, requires drivers to slow down or change lanes when driving by a stopped emergency vehicle. Beginning in 2017, the law also will include any vehicle on the side of the road with hazard lights flashing, according to a statement from the Illinois State Police.
  2. Speeding between 26 mph and 35 mph over the posted limit is a Class B misdemeanor. A class B misdemeanor in Illinois carries a maximum penalty of of 180 days in county jail, with fines up to $1500.
  3. Driving more than 35 mph over the speed limit is now considered a Class A misdemeanor. A Class A misdemeanor in Illinois is punishable up to a year in jail with fines up to $2,500.
  4. Those who have been convicted of driving without insurance could have their vehicle impounded if they are stopped by police within 12 months of the first citation.
  5. Fines will double for drivers caught trying to go around lowered railroad crossing gates. Under a new amendment to the Illinois Vehicle Code, drivers who disregard activated gates and warning lights at railroad crossings will face a fine of $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for subsequent offenses.

It must be pointed out that if someone who is charged with speeding over 25 mph over the speed limit there is a possibility the ticket could be amended to below 25 mph in order to avoid a misdemeanor conviction. This is not guaranteed. It could depend on the prosecutor and the judge handling the matter and whether the driver has a clean driving record. You will be required to hire an attorney if you are charged with a misdemeanor.

Drive safely and follow the rules of the road. Remember, if you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Illinois State Police Announce Special Traffic Patrols May 12 to May 24

Summer is upon us and travelling season typically picks up around Memorial Day week. There a lot of travelers on the road beginning that weekend and the Illinois State Police are responding. In a press release, the department announced that officers will conduct special traffic enforcement patrols –referred to as “sTEP” between Tuesday, May 12, and Sunday, May 24, in LaSalle County. The troopers will concentrate on speeding, failure to use occupant restraints and other driving offenses as part of their enforcement efforts. The sTEP program involves a combination of increased enforcement and public information designed to raise public awareness and compliance to all traffic laws.

According to the press release speeding is a contributing factor in 31 percent of all fatal crashes nationwide. In Illinois, speed-related car crashes account for over 40 percent of all traffic fatalities.

I would imagine we will see multiple traffic enforcement programs from state an local police over the Memorial Day weekend, which could include DUI stop zones and extra awareness on distracted drivers. As the weather gets nice there are a lot more of us out on the roads, so be safe.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

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.

2013 Saw A Slight Increase In Illinois Traffic Fatalities

The Chicago
Tribune
 reported this month that there was a slight increase in
traffic fatalities in 2013. T
here were 973 crash fatalities in 2013 compared with 956 fatalities in 2012, a nearly 2 percent
increase.  Despite the slight uptick, the report points out that this was
the fifth year in a row where car accident deaths were below 1,000. This is a dramatic
change from previous decades regularly saw traffic deaths well over a
thousand. 
 

The
Illinois department of transportation attributes this recent level of traffic fatalities to the strict enforcement of traffic laws like the seat belt
law. IDOT spokeswoman Paris Ervin said the department credits the
historically low fatalities in recent years to “increased seat belt usage
as a result of Illinois’ primary belt law, education and enforcement,” and
to safety improvements to the roads. But the department is not satisfied,
she said. “Our goal is to drive zero fatalities to a reality in
Illinois and get everyone to their destination safely,” she said.  

The
uptick in traffic deaths in Illinois comes as the number of traffic fatalities
in the U.S. is expected to be lower in 2013 than it was
 in 2012. In Wisconsin, for example, officials expect that traffic deaths in
2013 — totaling 519 in late December — were far below the state’s five-year
average of 571.

As I have written about
in the past, there are two new laws that went into effect in 2014 that could
the number of traffic accidents in Illinois. First, is the total ban of hand
held cell phone use throughout the state. The second is the speed limit
increase on certain interstates to 70 mph. It will be interesting to see which
direction the number of car crashes and traffic fatalities ebbs or flows in the
next year with these new laws in effect.

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

A Review Of Illinois Traffic Laws For 2014

I have posted several articles over
the past year of new laws signed by Governor Quinn that went into effect on
January 1, 2014. Below is a review of the main laws that took effect this week.

Public Act
98-0511 amended the Illinois Vehicle Code, 625 ILCS 5/11-601, it changes the
existing legal speed limit from 65 mph to 70 mph on all rural interstates. The
Act also allows eight counties (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Will, McHenry, Lake,
Madison and St. Clair) with heavily congested highways to opt out and maintain
the current 55 mph speed limit.

Illinois
also strengthened speed laws on all streets, highways, and roads throughout
Illinois. Anyone speeding 26 mph over the posted limit will now be charged with
a Class B misdemeanor and speeding 35 mph or more over the posted limit will be
charged with a Class A misdemeanor. Also, keep in mind that supervision is no
longer available for drivers who are caught speeding 31 mph over the posted
speed limit. Supervision is a type of court probation that allows defendants to
plead guilty and pay a fine. The charge is removed from the defendant’s record
if they do not receive any other tickets or arrests during the time period set
by the court (typically between 3 months to a year). If supervision is
completed successfully then there are no points added to the driver’s record
and the driver’s insurance rates are not affected. 

Public Act
98-0506 bans the use of hand-held cell phone devices behind the wheel.
Bluetooth headsets, earpieces, and voice activated commands are permitted. The
only exemptions from this law apply to law enforcement officers or
first responders; drivers reporting emergencies and drivers using electronic
devices while parked on the shoulder of a roadway. Those who violate this
Section shall be fined a maximum of $75 for a first offense, $100 for a second
offense, $125 for a third offense, and $150 for a fourth or subsequent offense.

Penalties for
distracted drivers who injure others or cause fatal crashes by the use of a
cell phone would face a Class A misdemeanor, which could result in fines up to
$2,500 and less than a year of jail time. Drivers involved in fatal accidents
could be charged with a Class 4 felony, which carries fines up to $25,000 and
up to three years of jail time.

It’s 2014,
so watch how fast you are driving (or you could be charged with a misdemeanor)
and remember to stay hands free when talking on the phone while driving.

If you or
someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney Aaron Bryant for a freelegal 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 Increases Speed Limit For Illinois Semi Trucks

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn recently signed a new law that will increase the speed limit for trucks from 55 mph to 65 mph on four (4) lane highways throughout most of the state. There is an important caveat for the bill, which keeps the speed limit at 55 mph in all the counties in the surrounding Chicagoland area. These counties include Cook, DuPage, Will, Lake, Kane and McHenry.  Other legislation dealing with truck weight and size standards also was signed Wednesday in Quincy by Quinn.  The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2012.

I am not sure wether this is necessary legislation. I think it will be important to track the rates of highway trucking accidents at the new speed compared to previous years. I assume the legislation was passed to help clear traffic congestion on highways, and presumably, to make highways safer. I cannot say one way or the other right now if this increases safety.  I will be looking for articles from highway safety experts to weigh in on this issue.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago truck accident or Illinois truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free consultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at www.blgchicago.com.