- 1 Introduction
Driving laws are constantly evolving to ensure the safety and well-being of motorists. As we enter a new year, Illinois has introduced several new driving laws that all drivers should be aware of. Whether you are a seasoned driver or a new one, understanding these laws is crucial to avoid fines, penalties, and potential accidents. In this article, we will discuss the latest driving laws in Illinois and how they may impact your daily commute.
1. Hands-Free Requirement
One of the most significant changes in Illinois driving laws is the hands-free requirement. As of January 1st, 2022, it is illegal to hold a cell phone while driving, even if you are at a red light or stop sign. This law aims to reduce distracted driving and promote safer roads. To comply with this law, drivers must use hands-free devices such as Bluetooth or speakerphone when making calls or using GPS navigation.
2. Slow Down and Move Over Law
Illinois has strengthened its Slow Down and Move Over Law to protect emergency vehicles and their operators. This law now includes any vehicle with flashing lights, such as tow trucks and maintenance vehicles. When approaching these vehicles, drivers must reduce their speed, change lanes if possible, and proceed with caution. Failure to do so can result in hefty fines and points on your driving record.
3. Scott’s Law
Scott’s Law, also known as the “Move Over Law,” has been expanded in Illinois. This law requires drivers to slow down and move over if they see any vehicle with flashing lights on the side of the road. This includes police cars, fire trucks, and other emergency vehicles. It is crucial to give these vehicles enough space to ensure the safety of emergency personnel and the general public.
4. Increased Penalties for Texting and Driving
Texting and driving is a dangerous habit that can lead to accidents and fatalities. In an effort to discourage this behavior, Illinois has increased the penalties for texting and driving. First-time offenders will now face a fine of up to $1,000, while repeat offenders can face fines up to $3,000. Additionally, if texting and driving results in great bodily harm or death, the penalties can be even more severe.
5. School Bus Safety
Illinois has implemented new laws to enhance school bus safety. Drivers must now stop for a school bus with its stop arm extended and red lights flashing, regardless of the road’s number of lanes. This change ensures the safety of children as they board and exit the school bus. Violating this law can lead to hefty fines and even the suspension of your driver’s license.
6. Cannabis and Driving
With the legalization of recreational cannabis in Illinois, it is essential to understand the laws regarding driving under the influence. It is illegal to drive while under the influence of cannabis, and law enforcement officers have the right to conduct roadside tests to determine impairment. If you are found driving under the influence of cannabis, you may face fines, license suspension, and even imprisonment.
7. Bicycle Safety
Illinois has updated its laws to improve bicycle safety on the roads. Drivers must now leave a safe distance of at least three feet when passing a bicycle on the road. This change aims to reduce accidents and protect cyclists. Additionally, drivers should exercise caution when opening car doors, as “dooring” a cyclist can lead to severe injuries and legal consequences.
8. Move Over for Stopped Pedestrians
Illinois has introduced a new law requiring drivers to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who have stopped at a crosswalk. This means that if a pedestrian stops at a crosswalk, drivers must wait until the pedestrian has safely crossed the road before proceeding. This law ensures the safety of pedestrians and encourages a more pedestrian-friendly environment.
9. Increased Speeding Fines
Speeding can lead to accidents and endanger the lives of both drivers and pedestrians. To deter speeding, Illinois has increased the fines for speeding violations. The amount of the fine will depend on the speed at which the driver was caught exceeding the limit. Additionally, excessive speeding can result in the suspension of your driver’s license.
10. Seat Belt Usage
Wearing a seat belt is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself in the event of an accident. Illinois law requires all occupants of a vehicle to wear seat belts. Failure to do so can lead to fines and points on your driving record. It is crucial to make sure that everyone in your vehicle is properly buckled up before hitting the road.
Staying informed about the latest driving laws is essential for every driver. The new Illinois driving laws discussed in this article aim to improve safety on the roads and reduce accidents caused by distracted driving, speeding, and other dangerous behaviors. By adhering to these laws, you not only protect yourself but also contribute to creating a safer driving environment for everyone. Remember to always stay updated on driving laws in your state and drive responsibly.