ILLINOIS TRAFFIC LAWS Sami Azhari, Attorney at Law Mon, 02 Jan 2017 14:26:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Overview of Speeding Tickets in Illinois Sat, 27 Feb 2016 15:40:03 +0000 2016 Speeding Laws

Even though a new Illinois law, effective January 1, 2016, will now provide protections to first time aggravated speeding offenders, punishments for driving over the speed limit may still carry harsh sentences and require the assistance of effective, experienced legal counsel.

Illinois law has been historically unforgiving when it comes to speeding offenses. While most of us consider going over the speed limit a minor infraction, excessive and repeated speeding can lead to extensive fines, license suspension, or even jail time. Luckily for first time offenders, a new law may help minimize the impact of one misstep on your future.

“Speeding,” generally, means driving a vehicle over the prescribed limit. Going a few miles over the speed limit will generally result in a monetary fine and/or a requirement to attend traffic school or submit to court supervision. “Aggravated speeding” was previously defined as going more than 40 miles over the speed limit; however, the law underwent significant changes in 2014 and was further divided into:

  • Speeding over 26 miles per hour, but less than 35 miles per hour was a Class B misdemeanor
  • Speeding over 35 miles per hour was a Class A misdemeanor

Court supervision, until recently, was the distinctive characteristic between simple speeding and aggravated speeding. Court supervision is one of the best results for an alleged offender, aside from dismissal, because it gives the alleged offender the opportunity to avoid a formal conviction. This specific type of sentence is tailored for each individual defendant and may require periodic reporting to a government agency, imposition of curfew, undergoing physical or psychological treatment, participating in community service, or an abundance of other requirements. Individuals sentenced to court supervision have the opportunity, upon fulfillment of each and every term of the supervision, to have the pending charges dismissed. No conviction results if all requirements of the court supervision are fulfilled.

Court supervision was not an available possibility at sentencing for those found guilty for speeding over 26 miles per hour until January 1, 2016. As of the first of this year, however, an offender that has not previously been charged with speeding crimes may be eligible for this alternative sentence that will result in a dismissal of charges if the conditions of the supervision are fully satisfied.

Having court supervision as an available remedy to first time offenders greatly improves the chances of avoiding jail time and/or extensive periods of license suspension for aggravated driving. The biggest mistake that an individual under court supervision can make is failing to comply with the terms of the supervision. Receiving another speeding ticket or being charged with any other criminal offense could result in a conviction on your record if you do not take the appropriate steps in hiring effective legal counsel immediately.

Driving With a Suspended/Revoked License in Illinois Thu, 25 Feb 2016 01:08:51 +0000 DWLS and DWLR in Illinois 2016

Many people face the inconvenience of losing their license for a period in their lifetime. Whether it be due to drug or alcohol offense, an accumulation of speeding tickets, or reckless driving charges, license suspension is almost a given in each circumstance. Often, individuals are eligible to lawfully re-instate their license after a period of time or if certain conditions are met, but either are unaware they can do so or have not gotten around to it. As such, there are thousands of drivers on our roads in Illinois who are driving with a suspended license, seemingly unaware of the potentially severe consequences for doing so.

Under 625 ILCS 5/6-303(a), a driver that operates a vehicle without a valid license as a first time offender may be found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Most violations are misdemeanors and only become felonies if there is an aggravating circumstance. If the offense becomes a felony, it could result in the possibility of significantly more jail time and associated fines, in addition to continued license suspension or permanent revocation in certain instances. Driving on a suspended/revoked license becomes a felony under the following circumstances:

  • Driving without a BAIID Device during a Statutory Summary Suspension; 625 ILCS 5/6-303(c-3)
  • Driving while revoked or suspended from a previous DUI; 625 ILCS 5/6-303(d)

The term of the subsequent license suspension depends on the initial findings regarding the license suspension. Usually, an offender’s license will be continually suspended for at least the term of the original suspension. So, if the original suspension was for a year, another year will be added on as a punishment. The added license suspension is one way that driving with a suspended license is a unique offense; unlike more “minor” traffic offenses where the punishment is usually a fine and falls under the purview of civil or vehicle code infractions, driving with a suspended license is automatically a crime. Even misdemeanors can affect your driving record and criminal record.

Having a suspended license may affect every aspect of your life. In addition to daily errands, getting to/from work, picking and dropping off children at school, there may be difficulty in appearing for court on time or attending required court-ordered meetings or appointments. Failure to show up to these events due to an inability to drive is not considered a valid excuse. Failing to comply with post-conviction or probationary terms may have as severe consequences as the initial offense and should be taken very seriously, and will likely impact your criminal record in addition to potentially affecting the terms of your license suspension. Driving again is possible in most circumstances, but compliance with all court-ordered terms (including not driving with a suspended license) is necessary for this to even be a possibility after a driving with a suspended license conviction in Illinois.

Accident resulting in personal injury or death with a suspended license: felony Thu, 09 Jan 2014 22:57:49 +0000 Accident Causing Injury | Suspended/Revoked License

The Illinois legislature changed a section in the Vehicle Code in 2014, establishing severe penalties for driving with a suspended or revoked license.

Driving while license suspended, 625 ILCS 5/6-303(a), is in most situations a Class A misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for such an offense is up to one year in jail (364 days).

But under a new provision of Section 6-303, a person who is involved in a motor vehicle accident while driving on a suspended or revoked license can be charged with a felony.

The new provision says that on a second or subsequent offense, the offender shall be sentenced as a Class 4 felony offender. See 625 ILCS 5/6-303(a-3). The accused can be sentenced to up to 30 months of probation, or 1-3 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

The felony conviction cannot be expunged or sealed. In addition, the conviction for 6-303 will cause the Secretary of State to extend the underlying suspension.

This amendment is important because it takes a very large class of individuals and subjects them to an unexpected, harsh punishment.

When someone is arrested for DWLS or DWLR, felony charges usually happen only when the suspension is related to driving under the influence. For example, the 6-303 charge is a felony if the driver is revoked for a DUI conviction (625 ILCS 5/11-501), suspended pursuant to a statutory summary suspension (625 ILCS 5/11-501.1), revoked for leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury or death (625 ILCS 5/11-401), or revoked for reckless homicide (720 ILCS 5/9-3).

But now a person can be charged with the felony even where the loss of driving privileges is rather innocent, like too many moving violations in a year.

The amendment reads as follows:

A second or subsequent violation of subsection (a) of this Section is a Class 4 felony if committed by a person whose driving or operation of a motor vehicle is the proximate cause of a motor vehicle accident that causes personal injury or death to another. For purposes of this subsection, a personal injury includes any Type A injury as indicated on the traffic accident report completed by a law enforcement officer that requires immediate professional attention in either a doctor’s office or a medical facility. A Type A injury includes severe bleeding wounds, distorted extremities, and injuries that require the injured party to be carried from the scene.

625 ILCS 5/6-303(a-3).

The term, Type A injury, comes from the Illinois Traffic Crash Report that law enforcement officers are required to fill out after an accident. The police officer is supposed to check a box concerning the type of accident:

  1. Type A – injury is reported and apparent.
  2. Type B – injury is reported but not apparent.
  3. Type O – no injury reported, none apparent.

Under this provision, anytime another person from the accident is transported to the hospital, it could result in felony charges.

But interestingly, the driver may have a defense if he or she was not at fault for the accident. The statute says the offense is a felony if the person’s driving was ‘the proximate cause.’ This is an important distinction because other criminal statutes hold the person responsible if their driving was ‘a proximate cause,’ which is much broader.

Article 36 seizure: forfeiture process for vehicles used in the commission of an offense Thu, 26 Sep 2013 18:04:58 +0000 Article 36 Seizure and Forfeiture

Drive a vehicle illegally on Illinois roads, and you might not take the vehicle home with you. An obscure law in this state allows the police to seize the vehicle and sell it.

And in situations where someone other than the owner was driving, those vehicles can be seized and sold over the owner’s objection.

The process is called an Article 36 seizure. Most vehicle owners become aware of it when they attempt to pay an administrative towing fee at the police station and are told that the vehicle won’t be released. Or they may see that the property inventory says, ‘Article 36’ or something to the effect of ‘pending forfeiture.’

Article 36 is a statute in the Illinois Criminal Code, found at 720 ILCS 5/36-1. It reads as follows:

Any vessel, vehicle or aircraft used with the knowledge and consent of the owner in the commission of, or in the attempt to commit [an offense]… may be seized and delivered forthwith to the sheriff of the county of seizure. See id.

Generally, the police department that seized the vehicle will transfer it to the custody of the county sheriff within a week or two. But this is an estimate, and depending on the department, the process can take much, much longer. After this takes place, the sheriff will notify any person who has a registered ownership interest in the vehicle of the seizure, the State’s Attorney will get involved, and so begins the forfeiture process.

Note that the sheriff will only notify persons with a registered ownership interest. Basically, no one owns a vehicle unless they have a title that is registered. The sheriff will only notify the person to whom the vehicle is registered with the Secretary of State. Further, the notice of seizure will be mailed only to the address on file with the Secretary of State. If the address is not current, the owner won’t receive this crucial notice.

The list of offenses that allow the police to seize the vehicle is long, and gets longer every year. State lawmakers in Springfield are eager to add ways for law enforcement to take people’s vehicles and generate revenue.

Let’s look at all the crimes that allow the police to seize a vehicle. Remember, this is the list on the date of this article. The General Assembly hasn’t updated Article 36 after making changes in the Criminal Code of 2012. Some statutes have been repealed or placed into other parts the code. A respondent may have a due process argument in a forfeiture that is based on a statute whose citation was changed.

These are the current bases for a seizure:

  • First degree murder, 720 ILCS 5/9-1
  • Reckless homicide/involuntary manslaughter, 720 ILCS 5/9-3
  • Aggravated kidnapping, 720 ILCS 5/10-2
  • Criminal sexual assault, 720 ILCS 5/11-1.20
  • Aggravated criminal sexual assault, 720 ILCS 5/11-1.30
  • Predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, 720 ILCS 5/11-1.40
  • Indecent solicitation of a child, 720 ILCS 5/11-6
  • Promoting juvenile prostitution, 720 ILCS 5/11-14.4
  • 720 ILCS 5/11-15.1 (repealed)
  • 720 ILCS 5/11-19.1 (repealed)
  • 720 ILCS 5/11-19.2 (repealed)
  • Child pornography, 720 ILCS 5/11-20.1
  • 720 ILCS 5/11-20.1B (repealed)
  • 720 ILCS 5/11-20.3 (repealed)
  • 720 ILCS 5/12-4.1 (repealed)
  • 720 ILCS 5/12-4.2 (repealed)
  • 720 ILCS 5/12-4.2-5 (repealed)
  • 720 ILCS 5/12-4.3 (repealed)
  • 720 ILCS 5/12-4.6 (repealed)
  • Stalking, 720 ILCS 5/12-7.3
  • Aggravated stalking, 720 ILCS 5/12-7.4
  • Theft, 720 ILCS 5/16-1 (if the theft was precious metal or scrap metal)
  • Armed robbery, 720 ILCS 5/18-2
  • Burglary, 720 ILCS 5/19-1
  • Possession of burglary tools, 720 ILCS 5/19-2
  • Residential burglary, 720 ILCS 5/19-3
  • Arson, 720 ILCS 5/20-1
  • Aggravated arson, 720 ILCS 5/20-2
  • Aggravated discharge of a firearm, 720 ILCS 5/24-1.2
  • Aggravated discharge of a machine gun or a firearm equipped with a silencer, 720 ILCS 5/24-1.2-5
  • Reckless discharge of a firearm, 720 ILCS 5/24-1.5
  • Gambling, 720 ILCS 5/28-1
  • Possession of a deadly substance (terrorism), 720 ILCS 5/29D-15.2
  • Aggravated battery, 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(a)(1), (a)(2), (a)(4), (b)(1), (e)(1), (e)(2), (e)(3), (e)(4), (e)(5), (e)(6), or (e)(7)
  • Violation of an order of protection, 720 ILCS 5/12-4(a)
  • Criminal sexual abuse, 720 ILCS 5/11-1.50(a)
  • Aggravated criminal sexual abuse, 720 ILCS 5/11-1.60(a), (c), (d)
  • Unlawful use of a weapon, 720 ILCS 5/24-1(a)(6) or (a)(7)
  • 35 ILCS 130/21, 22, 23, 24 or 26 of the Cigarette Tax Act if the vessel, vehicle or aircraft contains more than 10 cartons of such cigarettes
  • 35 ILCS 130/28, 29 or 30 of the Cigarette Use Tax Act if the vessel, vehicle or aircraft contains more than 10 cartons of such cigarettes
  • 415 ILCS 5/44 of the Environmental Protection Act
  • Aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a peace officer, 625 ILCS 5/11-204.1
  • Driving under the influence, 625 ILCS 5/11-501, when the defendant’s driving privileges are revoked or suspended for a DUI, for a violation of leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury or death under 625 ILCS 5/11-401, or for reckless homicide under 720 ILCS 5/9-3. Note that the DUI in this case is supposed to be charged as a felony (eg, aggravated DUI)
  • DUI, 625 ILCS 5/11-501, where the accused has a previous conviction for reckless homicide involving alcohol or drugs, or a previous conviction for DUI where the violation caused an accident that resulted in death, great bodily harm, or permanent disability or disfigurement to another, when the violation was a proximate cause of the death or injuries. Note this should be charged as aggravated DUI.
  • Aggravated DUI, 625 ILCS 5/11-501, where the accused has two prior offenses
  • DUI, 625 ILCS 5/11-501, where the accused didn’t have a driver’s license. Note that this is supposed to be a felony (eg, aggravated DUI), but not all State’s Attorneys upgrade the charge.
  • DUI, 625 ILCS 5/11-501, for DUIs without insurance. Here also, this is supposed to be a felony (eg, aggravated DUI), but not all State’s Attorneys upgrade the charge.
  • Driving while license suspended or revoked, 625 ILCS 5/6-303(g), where the suspension/revocation is for a DUI, reckless homicide, or leaving the scene of an accident involving injury or death
  • Driving without a valid license, 625 ILCS 5/6-101(e), where the person also didn’t have insurance and caused an accident resulting in injury or death

As you can see, there are many offenses that allow the police to initiate an Article 36 seizure.

This article is only a summary of the Article 36 process. The vehicle owner has a right to be heard in court, and in fact, demand a trial in which the State has to prove that they are entitled to the forfeiture. This process should not be undertaken without a lawyer.

Temporary Visitor Driver’s License: Illinois gives permit to undocumented immigrants Mon, 01 Jul 2013 18:39:18 +0000 Illinois Driver's License for Illegal Aliens

The Illinois Secretary of State recently announced the ground rules for driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. In the last legislative session, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 957, that will allow aliens who do not possess a VISA or Social Security number to get licenses.

The Secretary of State calls the new permit a Temporary Visitor Driver’s License, or TVDL for short. There are some important differences between this permit and a regular driver’s license.

Under the law as it is written today, all Illinois residents aged 16 and older can get a driver’s license with a valid Social Security number. Also, documented immigrants with a VISA can also obtain driver’s license. But undocumented immigrants cannot get a driver’s license because they do not have a Social Security number. This will change 10 months from the date that the bill was signed into law, January 27, 2013. If everything goes according to plan, undocumented immigrants can get licenses starting December 2013.

The new Temporary Visitor Driver’s License is valid for only three years. A person with a regular driver’s license is valid for four years. And that person can renew the license. By comparison, an undocumented immigrant has to reapply each time. No renewal is allowed.

When someone gets a regular driver’s license, they have to show a Social Security number, their signature, date of birth, and two documents that prove residency. When applying for the new permit, an undocumented immigrant has to present proof of residency for one year in the state of Illinois, and a list of other documents yet to be developed by the Secretary of State. It is expected the Secretary will develop a list of documents needed to prevent undocumented immigrants from out-of-state from trying to obtain the new permits.

It should be noted that an undocumented immigrant who drives in another state with an Illinois permit may not be legal. The other state may choose not to honor the TVDL.

All undocumented immigrants who desire a permit must submit to a facial recognition search. The Secretary of State is developing a program by which a computer will conduct a facial recognition test to deter fraud. When the bill was under debate in the legislature, several law enforcement chiefs voiced an objection to the facial recognition software, saying instead that they wanted fingerprinting. Their concerns were overruled.

A regular driver’s license is issued at any Secretary of State facility, and is provided to the driver on the same day. By comparison, a permit for an illegal alien is provided after a wait. Each applicant must make an appointment at a specified Secretary of State facility to undergo the process of application. In addition, all permits for undocumented immigrants will be issued out of one centralized facility.

A driving permit for an undocumented immigrant is not valid for identification purposes-it does not allow the holder to board an airplane, enter a federal building, register to vote, or apply for a Firearm Owner’s Identification card (FOID card).

In addition, the Temporary Visitor Driver’s License is only valid with proof of a liability insurance policy. If a person operates a motor vehicle with the permit but does not have a valid liability insurance policy, that person will be charged with two offenses: driving without a valid license (625 ILCS 5/6-101), and also driving without proof of insurance (625 ILCS 5/3-707).

Download a brochure for the undocumented immigrant’s license in Spanish.

Lower the legal limit to 0.05: NTSB recommends Illinois and other states follow suit Tue, 14 May 2013 20:36:11 +0000 New Law 0.05 DUI in Illinois

In an historic vote, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended today that all 50 states lower the legal limit from 0.08 to 0.05 for driving under the influence.

At the present time, all 50 states have a limit for the alcohol concentration in any person’s blood or breath of 0.08. Anyone who operates a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 or higher would be guilty of DUI and subject to a driver’s license suspension.

The law in Illinois provides that a person is per se guilty of DUI if that alcohol concentration is 0.08, regardless of whether they are impaired. The DUI statute is 625 ILCS 5/11-501. It provides the following:

(a) A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle within this State while:

(1) the alcohol concentration in the person’s blood or breath is 0.08 or more based on the definition of blood and breath units in Section 11-501.2;

(2) under the influence of alcohol;

Where the driver submits to chemical testing (eg, a breathalyzer or blood test), the driver will receive two tickets, one for violation of section 11-501(a)(1), and another for violation of 11-501(a)(2). Where the motorist refuses chemical testing, the charge will lie in 11-501(a)(2), which alleges that the driver was impaired.

Today’s vote from the NTSB is not binding on the states. The entity has no authority to mandate that any state must change its laws. It would be up to the Department of Transportation to endorse the recommendation, and then incumbent on Congress to issue a mandate.

Under federalism, each of the 50 states has the right to make its own laws on crime and punishment, known as a state’s police power. The federal government cannot write the laws for any of the states. However, the federal government can induce the states to change their laws by withholding federal funding for road construction.

Over the course of time, the legal limit in Illinois has been steadily going down. For example, the legal limit was 0.15 from 1958 until 1967. In that year, it was reduced to 0.10, and finally in 1997, the legal limit was reduced again to the current 0.08.

The NTSB says that 10,000 people die in alcohol-related traffic accidents every year. The group also says that if all 50 states reduced their legal limit to 0.05, it would save almost 1,000 lives each year.

This recommendation from the NTSB has serious implications for Illinois DUI laws. The problem is that every driver arrested under suspicion of DUI has a right to choose whether to submit to chemical testing. If the person submits to a chemical test which discloses an alcohol concentration in his blood or breath of 0.08 or higher, the Secretary of State will suspend his driver’s license (eg, a statutory summary suspension). There is an additional penalty for refusing. Anyone who refuses a chemical test will have a suspension twice as long. Under the law today, a person who fails chemical testing will be suspended for six months, while the person who refuses chemical testing will be suspended for 12 months.

Given that less alcohol would result in a person exceeding the legal limit of 0.05, it should be expected that more drivers would refuse the breathalyzer. And thus, more drivers would suffer a longer summary suspension.

The food and hospitality industry will campaign against lowering the legal limit. Some say that a law such as this would put bars and taverns out of business.

It is dubious whether a lower legal limit will actually increase public safety. The reason is, most alcohol-related traffic accidents occur with a driver who is very intoxicated. The offenders responsible for fatal accidents typically have an alcohol concentration in the blood or breath many times over the legal limit. And so, a legal limit of 0.05 would do nothing to deter these offenders from drinking and driving.

This argument applies to stricter gun control measures. Criminal don’t abide by those laws anyway, so the only people who are affected are law-abiding citizens.

A lower legal limit would ensnare a very large population of otherwise responsible people who had one or two alcoholic beverages at dinner.

It remains to be seen whether the federal government will take action based on this vote by the NTSB. If it does, it could be the beginning of a very significant change in criminal law.

Speed limit on interstate to increase to 70 mph in Illinois Wed, 24 Apr 2013 15:17:15 +0000 New Speed Limit on Highway

Illinois may soon see the speed limit increase to 70 mph. The State Senate passed a bill yesterday that would increase the speed limit to 70 mph on interstate highways. The measure was passed on a 41-6 vote. 4NXW97JCEM6F

The current top speed on the interstate is 65 mph in rural areas, and 55 mph in urban areas. The law would push the limit up to 70 mph, which is the speed limit for more than 30 other states.

But the legislation would allow Cook County and all collar counties to opt out, and also two counties adjacent to St. Louis.

The measure is expected to pass the House and be signed by the Governor. The law would go into effect on January 1, 2014.

It is unclear how the Illinois State Police feel about an increased speed limit. The fact is that near Chicago, almost all traffic exceeds the speed limit by at least 10 mph. Some troopers may feel the 70 mph limit will encourage drivers to speed even more.

Remember that starting July 1, 2013, there is no court supervision for speeding more than 25 over the limit in an urban district.

New law proposed to allow police to tow and impound vehicle for driving without insurance Sun, 17 Mar 2013 15:13:22 +0000 Towed for No Insurance Law

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives will vote soon on a bill that allows police officers to tow and impound vehicles for driving without proof of insurance.

Proposed by Representative Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, the bill would amend 625 ILCS 5/4-203. This is the statute that authorizes law enforcement to tow and impound vehicles abandoned on highways.

Through this statute and other provisions of the vehicle code, police officers are authorized to tow and impound vehicles that are used in the commission of certain offenses:

  • Driving under the influence in violation of 625 ILCS 5/11-501. See 625 ILCS 5/4-205(e)(allowing for towing and impoundment after arrest for DUI, which is known as a “DUI Hold”). Note that an arrest for DUI in Chicago results in a DUI hold with a minimum penalty of $2,000 under 7-24-226 of the Municipal Code of Chicago. This is probably the highest in the state. It is not a defense that the owner, who has to pay the penalty, was not the person who committed the DUI. People have appealed this issue and lost. See Jackson v. City of Chicago.
  • Driving while license suspended or revoked (625 ILCS 5/6-303(a)). See 625 ILCS 5/6-303(e)(requiring towing and impoundment after an arrest for DWLS).

The proposed legislation would add an additional offense, driving without insurance (625 ILCS 5/3-707), to the list which allow for towing and impoundment.

Through a law called Home Rule, municipalities can enact vehicle code ordinances that are Class A misdemeanors. Many villages and cities do so in order to collect the revenue from the offense. To date, I am not aware of any Home Rule unit that allows towing and impound solely on the basis of driving without insurance. Usually the police are required to ticket the driver for another offense like DUI or DWLS. This provision would apply statewide and supercede any local rule.

Every driver in Illinois has to have a liability insurance policy (625 ILCS 5/7-601) with minimum coverage of $20,000 per person per accident. See 625 ILCS 5/7-203. It is estimated that up to 15% of drivers don’t have insurance in Illinois.

Operating a motor vehicle without proof of insurance is a business offense punishable by a minimum $500 fine on the first conviction and $1,000 fine on the second. See 625 ILCS 5/3-707(c). But if the driver is in an accident causing bodily harm to another, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor with a potential penalty of up to one year in jail. See 625 ILCS 5/3-707(a-5).

A conviction for driving without insurance results in a minimum 3-month suspension of driving privileges by the Secretary of State. See 625 ILCS 5/3-707(c-1).

Before the bill passed committee review, it was amended so that the driver would have his vehicle towed only he had a prior conviction for no insurance in the last year.

This bill is likely to pass the House and Senate, and get signed into law by the Governor. And considering the dire finances of many police departments, the administrative impounds will probably occur regularly.

Important new traffic laws in Illinois for 2013 Sat, 29 Dec 2012 20:35:11 +0000 New Illinois Traffic Laws 2013

State lawmakers made some important changes to the Illinois Vehicle Code for 2013. One change may lead to a substantial increase in driver’s license suspensions.

No Supervision for Speeding

Lawmakers amended 730 ILCS 5/5-6-1 to prohibit traffic court judges from giving supervision on speeding tickets more than 25 mph over the limit:

The provisions [allowing supervision] shall not apply to a defendant charged with violating subsection (b) of Section 11-601 of the Illinois Vehicle Code when the defendant was operating a vehicle, in an urban district, at a speed in excess of 25 miles per hour over the posted speed limit.

730 ILCS 5/5-6-1(q).

The general rule is that three convictions for moving violations in 12 months will result in a suspended driver’s license. If drivers can’t get supervision for speeding more than 25 mph over the limit, then the odds of a suspended license increase substantially.

Ban on Cell Phones for Commercial Drivers

CDL operators can no longer use cell phones on the road, unless they are hands-free. Under 625 ILCS 5/6-526 and 6-527, commercial vehicle drivers are prohibited form texting, and from making phone calls while holding a cell phone by hand.

A violation would constitute a serious traffic violation that can cancel a CDL.

The prohibition against applies even when the vehicle is stopped at a red light or due to traffic.

Prohibition against texting, using hand-held mobile telephone in commercial vehicle Sat, 29 Dec 2012 15:20:32 +0000 Prohibition Against Texting CDL Illinois

Illinois drivers have a few more laws to pay attention to on the road in 2013. Legislators in Springfield passed several important statutes amending the vehicle code.

One very important change to the vehicle code is a ban on texting for all CDL operators. In addition, commercial drivers cannot use a cell phone while driving a commercial motor vehicle, unless the device is hands-free.

Under the Uniform Commercial Driver’s License Act (UCDLA), a violation will constitute a serious traffic violation. A commercial driver who has two or more serious traffic violations in a 3-year period will have his CDL cancelled for at least 60 days.

The prohibition against texting and cell phones applies whether the vehicle is moving or temporarily stationary.

The statute banning texting, 625 ILCS 5/6-526, provides the following:

(a) A driver may not engage in texting while driving a commercial motor vehicle…

(c) For the purpose of this Section, when a person is operating a commercial motor vehicle, driving means operating a commercial motor vehicle on a highway, including while temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays. Driving does not include operating a commercial motor vehicle when the driver has moved the vehicle to the side of, or off, a highway and has halted in a location where the vehicle can safely remain stationary.

The section that bans the use of cell phones for making calls, 625 ILCS 5/6-527, has the same restrictions:

(a) A driver may not use a hand-held mobile telephone while driving a commercial motor vehicle…

(c) For the purpose of this Section, driving means operating a commercial motor vehicle on a highway, including while temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays. Driving does not include operating a commercial motor vehicle when the driver has moved the vehicle to the side of, or off, a highway and has halted in a location where the vehicle can safely remain stationary.

The only exception to the ban is when texting or making a call is necessary to communicate with law enforcement, such as reporting an emergency.

But a hands-free device is not a violation of the statute. While the definition of texting is straight forward, the hands-free exception to the ban on cell phones is not so intuitive.

There are three situations which constitute a violation of the ban on cell phones:

(1) using at least one hand to hold a mobile telephone to conduct a voice communication;

(2) dialing or answering a mobile telephone by pressing more than a single button; or

(3) reaching for a mobile telephone in a manner that requires a driver to maneuver so that he or she is no longer in a seated driving position, restrained by a seat belt that is installed in accordance with 49 CFR 393.93 and adjusted in accordance with the vehicle manufacturer’s instructions.

625 ILCS 5/6-500(33).