New Illinois Left Lane Traffic Law Now In Effect

I wrote a few weeks back about the new Illinois traffic laws for 2019. I did not mention a new statute that was enacted back in 2017, but went into effect this year. The new law, 625 ILCS 5/11-701, requires drivers to stay within the right lane in two (2) lane highways.

There are several exceptions, which include when passing other vehicles or moving over for an emergency vehicle. The Illinois State Police, who pushed for this new law, stated that the purpose of the provision is to keep traffic flowing and increase safety.
You’re not supposed to travel in the left lane and stay there,” said Lieutenant Matt Boerwinkle, spokesperson for Illinois State Police. “The main focus is to ensure that motorists have a means to get around traffic that should stay in the right lane.” The state police posted the hashtag
#LeftLaneLollygaggersBeware to their Facebook page.

Violators of this new traffic law will be hit with a $120.00 fine.

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Those of us who live in the Midwest have know all too well that the severe winter weather is upon. The Midwest, including the Chicagoland region, have been hit with snow and ice over the last week. It is important to take precautions when driving in severe weather, and luckily the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has provided a list of tips before driving icy or snowy conditions:

1.  Take it slow, especially when approaching intersections, ramps, bridges and shady areas. All are prone to black ice, an invisible danger during some winter storms.
2.  Make sure your gas tank is full.
3. Keep a cell phone, warm clothes, blankets, food, water, a first-aid kit, washer fluid and an ice scraper in your vehicle.
4.Check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your travel route and schedule.
5. Carry a cellphone in case of emergency. Reminder: Using handheld phones while driving is illegal in Illinois, unless it is an emergency situation.
6. Always wear a seat belt, whether you’re sitting in the front seat or back seat. It’s the law.

Please be careful while driving this winter, and take a close look at the tips provided by IDOT.

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New Illinois Traffic Laws For 2019

It’s a new year, and I am happy to report there are several new traffic laws that were enacted by the Illinois legislature and will take affect this year. Most important, I am excited to write that the Illinois legislature has finally taken the initiative to stiffen texting and driving laws. Also, steps were taken to protect you children and bicyclists. Below are the new laws:

  1. Beginning July 1, 2019, anyone caught texting while driving will be issued a moving violation, which will go on their driving record. The $75 fine will still apply to a first offense. Previously, texting and driving tickets were not a moving violation and did not affect a drivers’ record.
  2. Beginning January 1, 2019 children under two (2) must ride in a rear-facing car seat. Penalties will be up to the discretion of local authorities, but Illinois State Police say a first offense could earn a $75 fine and up to $200 for a second offense. Children who are taller than 40 inches or weigh more than 50 pounds are exempt.
  3. And the “Dutch Reach” method is being added to the Illinois’ Rules of the Road manual, and bicycle safety questions will be asked during the state driver’s license test. The “Dutch Reach” method has drivers and passengers reach across their bodies to open the door after parallel parking. The method is meant to remind people to look back for cyclists before opening their doors in order to prevent “dooring” crash.

This is positive news for all Illinois residents. As I have written over and over through the years, the only thing that will help reduce texting and driving is stiffer penalties. A moving violation may not be far enough, but at least it has some teeth to it. A moving violation adds points to an Illinois drivers’ record, and three (3) within the same calendar year, can cause a drivers’ license to be suspended.

Also, I have been a proponent for bicyclist safety through the years, and the addition of bicycle laws into to the Illinois drivers manual is a huge step forward.

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