New Illinois Traffic Laws For 2020 and 2021

The Illinois legislature passed and the governor signed into law two (2) important new traffic laws in 2020 that went into effect in 2020. I will also discuss a local Chicago ordinance that went into effect in the new year.

First, as I have been writing about on this blog for years, the Illinois legislature finally stiffened the texting and driving penalties when the accident causes serious injury to another party. Beginning on July 1, 2020 the Illinois secretary of state was enabled to revoke driving privileges for one year when a driver causes “great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement” due to use of an electronic communication device. The offense is also subject to a minimum $1,000 fine. Electronic communication devices include hand-held wireless telephone, hand-held personal digital assistant, or portable or mobile computer. It does not include a GPS or a device that is electronically integrated into the vehicle. 

Second, stronger penalties were enacted for drivers who injured a pedestrian while walking in a cross-walk. This new law establishes a 12-month license suspension for a motorist who, while violating the right-of-way at crosswalks and in school zones, causes serious injury to another person. This law also went into effect on July 1, 2020.

Finally, as I discussed a few months back, part of the city of Chicago’s 2021 budget included increased fines for drivers caught on speeder cameras driving 6 to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit. The plan states those driving six miles per hour over posted speed limits would get a warning. If a driver is caught twice, they would then receive a $35 ticket in the mail.   This new ordinance took effect in 2021.

If you or a loved one have been has been seriously injured in a Chicago truck crash or Chicago car accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Chicago City Counsel Passes Tax On Ride-Shares

I wrote several weeks back about Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s budget proposal and her ideas to help reduce traffic conditions downtown. Her idea to increase taxes on ride-shares in the downtown loop area passed this week by the Chicago city counsel when they approved the 2020 budget.

Lightfoot’s office foresee’s this tax revenue will raise $40 million for the city, which will then be used to improve the busing lanes that lead in and out of downtown. The entire purpose, according to Lightfoot’s office, is an attempt to decrease congestion in the downtown loop during peak rush hours. The increased downtown fees would apply between 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., when traffic is worst. The rest of the time, trips downtown would have the same fees as the rest of the city.

The combined city taxes on a solo Uber, Lyft, of Via trip that starts or ends downtown will rise from 72 cents to $3. The taxes on a shared ride downtown would rise from 72 cents per trip to $1.25 per trip.

For the purposes of the congestion tax, the boundaries of downtown would be North Avenue from Lake Shore Drive to the north branch of the Chicago River, the north branch of the Chicago River from North Avenue to Grand Avenue, Grand Avenue from the north branch of the river to Ashland Avenue, Ashland from Grand to Van Buren Street, Van Buren from Ashland to Desplaines Street, Desplaines from Van Buren to Roosevelt Road, and Roosevelt from Desplaines to Lake Shore Drive.

Both Uber and Lyft have criticized this tax as they have stated it hurts low income passengers who need the app to travel downtown. This did not deter Lightfoot or the city council as the budget passed 37 to 11.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago CTA accident or Chicago truck crash, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Rahm Emanuel Orders Removal Of 50 Red Light Cameras

After writing over the weekend that the Chicago mayor and city council should remove red light cameras, it was announced yesterday by multiple media outlets that the city would be removing fifty (50) red light cameras.

Red light cameras will be removed at the following locations:

• Ashland and 47th
• Ashland and 63rd
• Ashland and Archer
• Ashland and Diversey
• Ashland and Garfield
• California and 31st
• Central and Madison
• Cicero and Stevenson Expressway
• Cornell and 57th
• Cottage Grove and 95th
• Damen and Blue Island
• Elston and Foster
• Halsted and 63rd
• Halsted and 83rd
• Harlem and Northwest Highway
• Jeffrey and 79th
• Kimball, McCormick and Lincoln
• Narragansett, 55th and Archer
• Osceola and Touhy
• Pulaski and Montrose
• Stony Island and 83rd
• Vincennes and 111th
• Western Ave and 51st
• Western, Armitage and Milwaukee
• Western and Pratt

According to the mayor’s office the removals come as a result of a review of crash data performed by CDOT. Regardless, Mayor Emanuel is not backing down from his overall stance on red light cameras. “Red light cameras help reduce the most dangerous (car) crashes and allow police officers to concentrate on fighting crime, not writing traffic violations, and public trust is vital for this program to be effective,” said Mayor Emanuel.

I believe this is a positive first step regarding driver and pedestrian safety within busy Chicago intersections. If these cameras are viewed to have no net safety impact, then there is no reason to leave cameras in these intersections. I continue to believe that all the red light cameras should be removed because studies have shown that they can make intersections more dangerous. Regardless, I applaud the mayor for taking this initial step.

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

Illinois State Lawmaker Proposes Statewide Ban On Red Light Cameras

I wrote a few weeks back about Chicago mayoral candidate, Bob Fioretti’s proposed ban on red light cameras in Chicago. As an alderman, he planned on submitting an ordinance that would outlaw red light cameras in Chicago. This sentiment has gained traction state-wide, as the Chicago Tribune reports that Representative David McSweeney, a Barrington Hills Republican, filed legislation to outlaw traffic enforcement cameras statewide.

McSweeney submitted this bill based on last month’s study published by the Tribune. I wrote about that study, which in essence, concluded that red light cameras provide zero net impact or safety improvements to intersections that hold these cameras. The number of cross-traffic or T-bone collisions have decreased, while the number of rear-end crashes have actually increased. This left the Texas A&M professors, who prepared the study, to conclude that red light cameras were not making the intersections any safer and were merely a money-maker for the city.

The bill would repeal state law that allowed Chicago to grow its red light program into the largest in the nation and also targets the mayor’s new speed camera program that began rolling out last year.

McSweeney said he had not yet discussed the proposed legislation with Madigan or the Democratic leadership in the House.

“At the end of the day, it’s important that we have debate on this issue, that we get a vote on the floor and hopefully ban these cameras,” said McSweeney, who added that Sen. Dan Duffy, R-Lake Barrington, is ready to sponsor the legislation in the Senate. “I am sure I will have a discussion with Speaker Madigan about it very soon.”

It will be interesting to see who acts first, the state legislature or the city alderman. Based on the recent press and scandals these cameras have delivered, I would not be surprised to see either a local or statewide ban of red light cameras by the end of the year.

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