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Illinois Driving and Traffic Laws

Learning the traffic laws in a new state is not difficult. This includes Illinois. While the particulars of traffic laws vary according to the area you live in, they mostly remain consistent from state to state. There are three specific areas of traffic law that you should familiarize yourself with: drinking and driving, basic traffic law infraction, and the legal documentation need to own and operate a vehicle. If an extended period of time has passed since you obtained your driver's license, studying the Illinois Driver's License Manual may help you to brush up on your knowledge. In addition to a discount you can qualify for, enrolling in a defensive driving or driver's educational course can also help you to learn the traffic laws for a new state. You will be taught to recognize risky driving behaviors you may not be aware you engage in, thereby reducing your chances of being involved in an accident or receiving a ticket.

The issue of talking on your cell phone while driving has been subjected to intense debate across the country. While some states and cities have banned cell phone usage in the car altogether, Illinois's state laws vary slightly from this. Illinois, as a state, had allowed cities, towns, and municipalities to determine their own laws regulating cell phone usage in a car. Chicago is an example of one such city that has banned cell phone usage while a motorist is driving. Carbondale has banned cell phone usage by adolescent drivers and public transportation operators, such as school bus drivers. In that area, if a school bus driver is caught using a cell phone while transporting children, he or she can be subjected to a $250 fine. Repeat offenders may lose their license to operate a bus altogether. The penalties for violating this law across the state are mostly limited to fines. However, if you are involved in a collision in which you were using a cell phone, you can have your license suspended or revoked.

While the particular punishments for driving impaired vary amongst states, driving drunk is illegal all across the country. In 2006, there were 1,254 car accidents across the state that resulted in fatalities. 540, or 43%, of these accidents were alcohol related. 35% of those involved or killed in the accident had a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher. As a result of such statistics, Illinois has enacted stringent penalties for those who are caught driving under the influence of alcohol. Illinois is a zero tolerance state for those who are under the age of twenty one and who are driving impaired. Essentially, if you are underage and are caught drinking and driving, you will go to jail. There will be no exceptions.

Your first drunk driving conviction in Illinois will result in your license being suspended for ninety days. In addition, you may incur fines and be ordered to participate in community service. The second DUI offense for a motorist will result in fines and the suspension of your license for one year. After your second offense, you may possibly incur jail time. You may also be subjected to court ordered alcohol abuse assessments and treatment. The punishments for your third offense are varied. Your license can be revoked for a period of up to five years. You could also face the possibility of jail time, having your vehicle confiscated, or having an interlock device added to your car. Illinois is taking a firm stance in discouraging its citizens from drinking and driving. It should be noted that these penalties will be increasingly stiffer for any adult who is transporting minors under the age of sixteen while he or she is under the influence of alcohol.

Most motorists know that there are three main pieces of documentation one needs in order to operate a vehicle legally, namely your driver's license, your registration, and your proof of insurance coverage. Under state law, a motorist is required to maintain a minimum Bodily Injury Liability limit of $20,000 per injured person up to a total of $40,000 per accident, and Property Damage Liability coverage with a minimum limit of $15,000. These are referred to as the 20/40/15 coverage limits for the state.

The state of Illinois follows what is known as a Tort system when it comes to dealing with automobile collisions. Under the guidelines of a Tort system, one party involved in the accident must be deemed at fault for the collision. This person and their insurance company then assumes all financial responsibility for the medical expenses and property damage repair costs for other motorists involved in the accident. The tenements of a Tort system vary from state to state, and you can contact the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles to find out the particulars for Illinois.

The punishments one can face for driving without proof of insurance, inadequate registration, or a revoked or suspended license will vary according to the municipality you are convicted in. Your punishment can range from incurring fees to the suspension or revocation of your license.

Other various traffic laws in Illinois of which you should be aware include:

HB518 - Under this provision in the law, the parents of an adolescent who has not reached his or her majority may have to view the young adult driver's driving record and any police reports that related to their adolescent and blood alcohol testing. This can happen any time they want it to. This law specifically regards those who have a learner's permit or graduated driver's license.

SB172 - This is a recently introduced law that increases the amount of time an adolescent motorist must have a learner's permit before they qualify for a graduated driver's license. The time period has been extended from three months to nine months. If an adolescent motorist receives a ticket or citation for a moving violation, this time period will be increase.

SB1005 - This law states that the failure to report an accident in which injuries or death are sustained by a party is now considered to be a felony. Additionally, the act of a motorist failing to yield the right of way to a pedestrian in a cross walk within a school zone when children are present has now been classified as a petty offense. The penalties for the first infraction will be a fine in the amount of $150. Upon the second offense, the fine will be increased to $300.

SB533 - Should the reckless driving of a motorist cause bodily harm to a child or a crossing guard, he or she will now face higher penalties. If the victim suffers permanent disfigurement, the penalties increase further. If a victim suffers death as a result of such an accident, it is now considered to be a Class 2 felony. The punishment for such a conviction is six to twenty eight years worth of jail time.

As one can observe, Illinois has enacted strict laws that govern how its motorists drive. These laws are put into place to protect you and other motorists. Obey them. By researching the traffic laws in Illinois, you will be able to maintain a clean driving history. This will allow for reductions on your insurance premiums.



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