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New Laws for 2019 -

  • Children under 2 must ride rear-facing: A new law will require parents to have their child’s car seat rear-facing if the child is under 2 years old. The law leaves the penalties up to the discretion of local authorities, but Illinois State Police say violators could face a $75 fine for a first offense and up to a $200 fine for a second offense. It should be noted that children taller than 40 inches or weighing more than 40 pounds are exempt.
  • “Dutch Reach” method now part of driver curriculum: In the new year, the “The Dutch Reach strategy will be added to Illinois’ Rules of the Road manual and bicycle safety questions will be asked during the state driver’s license test. The “Dutch Reach” method encourages drivers and passengers to use the hand farthest from the door to reach across their body to open the door after parallel parking. According to research, the method reminds people to look back for cyclists before exiting the vehicle and can help prevent “dooring” crashes. Most recent data show there were more than 300 dooring crashes reported in Chicago in 2015, a 50 percent increase from the previous year.
  • Use of school bus signal arms and lighting: Beginning January 1, the “School Bus” sign on a school bus must be covered or concealed when the bus is being used to transport people over the age of 18 who are not using the bus in affiliation with a school or church or an activity relating to a school or church. In addition, the stop signal arm and flashing lights should not be operable in these circumstances. Previously, the law did not specify that the bus would need to be serving people over 18 years old in order to apply.
  • Tougher texting and driving penalties: Beginning July 1, 2019, drivers caught texting behind the wheel will be issued a moving violation that will go on their driving record. Anyone convicted of three moving violations in a 12-month period may have their license suspended. Under the current law that took effect in 2014, a first offense for texting while driving is a non-moving violation and doesn’t affect a person’s driving record. The $75 fine would still apply on the first offense.

New Laws for 2017 -

*Secretary of State Jesse White recently initiated legislation allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to register for the state’s First Person Consent Organ/Tissue Donor Registry when they receive their driver’s license or identification card. This legislation was signed by the governor and takes effect on January 1, 2018.

 This legislation amends the Illinois Anatomical Gift Act and enables 16- and 17-year-olds to join the First Person Consent Organ/Tissue Donor Registry. Under the current law, an individual must be at least 18 -years- old to join the registry.

 By joining the First Person Consent Organ/Tissue Donor Registry, 16- and 17-year-olds will be giving consent to donate their organs and tissue at the time of their death, with a single limitation. The procurement organizations, Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Network and Mid-America Transplant, must make a reasonable effort to contact a parent or guardian to ensure that they approve of the donation. The parent or guardian will have the opportunity to overturn the child’s decision. Once the 16- or 17-year-old turns 18, his/her decision would be considered legally binding without limitation.

 *A bicyclist has all the rights and responsibilities applicable to a vehicle driver, including the right of way on roads and at intersections.

* A driver approaching a disabled vehicle using hazard lights on a four-lane roadway must move to the lane away from the disabled vehicle if safe to do so. If changing lanes is not possible, the driver must reduce speed when passing the disabled vehicle.

*A person commits vehicular endangerment when he/she causes an object to fall from an overpass or other elevated location in the direction of a moving vehicle with the intent to strike it

*Vehicles are required to stop before meeting or overtaking a school bus located on school property (rather than just on public roadways).

Effective January 1, 2016 -
Four-time DUI convicts will be required to use an interlock device--a breath-testing contraption connected to a vehicle's ignition -- for the rest of their lives. There are about 5,000 four-time DUI offenders in Illinois who are currently banned from driving. Under the new law, they may apply for a restricted driving permit if they can prove they've turned their lives around.  Another conviction, however, will result in a lifetime ban from driving.
Teen Drinking
Underage drinkers who call 911 for a friend in medical need will have immunity from criminal charges.  The law designed to encourage teens not to avoid calling for emergency medical help for fear of being arrested.
Did You Know?  A recent study reported that there are approximately 630,000 lane-change crashes annually (including both large trucks and passenger vehicles).  Be alert check your mirrors, blind spots and use your turn signal.