There are some new laws that will take effect January 1, 2016 that Illinois drivers will want to be aware of when they get behind the wheel in the New Year.
Repeat DUI Offenders Must Use a Breath-Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device for 5 years
A new law will prevent repeat drunk drivers from prematurely reobtaining their Illinois driver’s licenses and increase the length of time they must use a breath alcohol interlock ignition device.
Under House Bill 3533/Public Act 99-0296, repeat drunk-driving offenders will be required to use a breath-alcohol interlock ignition device (BAIID) program for at least five years before their licenses can be reinstated. Currently, these drivers only have to use the interlock ignition device for one year. A BAIID is a breathalyzer device connected to a vehicle’s ignition. The vehicle will not start if the driver has blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .025 or more.
Under the new law, repeat DUI offenders will not be eligible to apply for a license again until completing a five year period under a restricted driving permit. During this period, if a driver has their permit suspended, cancelled, revoked, or they break the regulations of their BAIID device, they will be further inhibited from obtaining a license.
According to the Northwest Herald, the legislation was drafted after a drunk driver who killed a 17-year-old girl from Wonder Lake, Illinois in 2003, was picked up – yet again – a decade later for driving under the influence. After the accident in 2003, the driver was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison, released in 2009 and got his driver’s license back in 2013. He had been convicted of a DUI twice before he killed the teen and was driving with a suspended license the night of the accident.
Four-time DUI Offenders Get Another Chance Behind the Wheel
Despite being convicted of drunken driving four times and having their licenses revoked, multiple DUI offenders will have another chance to get behind the wheel. Currently, four-time DUI offenders lose all driving privileges. Under the new law, House Bill 1446/Public Act 99-0290, offenders can apply for a restricted driving permit, though only if their license has been revoked for at least five years. They must also prove they’ve been sober for three years. And offenders would also be required to have their vehicle equipped with a breath-alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID).
Data from the Secretary of State’s Office shows 5,085 Illinois drivers have been convicted of drunken driving four times and have had their licenses revoked. Fifty-five percent live in the six-county Chicago metropolitan area.
State Representative Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, pushed for the law to help a constituent who quit drinking but couldn’t land work because his license had been permanently revoked. The Chicago-Sun Times reports Representative Nekritz sees the law as a matter of redemption and safety, as many of these people are driving anyway.
Our law firm sees many tragic clients injured as a result of drivers drinking and getting behind the wheel, so there is concern about giving these offenders another chance. The Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM) and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), groups which fight for laws to crack down on drunk driving, actually support the new law.
Alton Daily News reported that the MADD Executive Director said this is better than saying “no way, never” to four time DUI offenders because these motorists will have a breath-alcohol ignition interlock device, which requires a driver to test negative for alcohol before their car will start, requiring drivers to follow rules instead of just driving illegally. Since it is difficult to live without driving, many DUI offenders end up driving anyway with a revoked license.
According to the new law, if the person issued a restricted driving permit is subsequently convicted of driving under the influence, the permit is revoked and he or she is permanently barred from acquiring a restricted driving permit. The current law allows a restricted license for three-time DUI offenders who have paid their fines and completed their jail time.
Scott’s Law or the “Move Over” Law is intended to protect emergency personnel from motorists at emergency scenes. According to the Illinois Secretary of State’s office, the law was named after Chicago Fire Lieutenant Scott Gillen, who was struck and killed on December 23, 2000 by an intoxicated driver while responding to a crash on the Dan Ryan Expressway.
Scott’s Law was passed in 2002 and requires drivers, who are approaching a police or emergency vehicle stopped in the roadway, to proceed with caution, yield and change lanes away from the emergency vehicle, and if possible change lanes. If changing lanes is unsafe, proceed with caution and slow down maintaining a safe speed for road conditions. The law applies to all vehicles displaying flashing lights including highway maintenance vehicles.
Starting in 2016, according to Senate Bill 1424/ Public Act 99-0125, drivers will have to use the “move over” law when encountering recycling trucks as well. The addendum to Scott’s law will require motorists to slow down when approaching recycling trucks. This is an addition to current legislation that requires vehicles to slow down when approaching garbage trucks.
In an opinion piece published on QCOnline.com, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Waste and Recycling Association Sharon H. Kneiss shares why there is a need for this law. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, waste and recycling collection workers have higher fatality rates than police and firefighters. The National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA), which represents America’s private waste and recycling industry, conducted a Harris Survey in 2014 that found while most Americans encounter garbage and recycling collection trucks on the road each week, only one-third of people slow down near these vehicles and nearly 40 percent actually are tempted to speed around them.
Sharon Kneiss wrote, “It is alarming that motorists, who are accustomed to stopping for school buses and pulling over to the side of the road when emergency vehicles approach, do not exercise the same caution behind the wheel when they are approaching vehicles that make frequent stops and that are performing an important service for our communities.”
Those who violate the law could face a maximum fine of $10,000 and a 90 day to two year suspension of driving privileges.
Electric Vehicle Parking Only
With the increase in low emissions cars, many parking lots are adding “electric vehicle only” parking spots, but currently any type of vehicle can park in these spots because this rule is not enforceable.
In 2014, new regulations went into effect to cut down on drivers illegally using disability parking, but with new technology and more drivers conscious about their carbon footprint, this issue has come up too.
WLS-TV reported that the new law came to fruition after a constituent called State Representative Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston, upset that he went to park his electric vehicle in a Northbrook parking lot that had a charging station, but there was a non-electric vehicle parked in the electric vehicle parking spots. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are over 800 public charging outlets in the state of Illinois.
Under House Bill 0198/Public Act 99-0172 non-electric vehicles are prohibited from parking in charging station spaces designated for electric vehicles. This new law allows the owner or operator of the parking facility to remove any non-electric vehicle in a designed spot. It also imposes a minimum fine of $75 on a person who parks in a spot designated for an electric vehicle and shouldn’t be there.
Hybrid vehicles run on gas or electric would only qualify to park in the electric parking spots if they have a plug and can be recharged from an external source.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
Our law firm has over 30 years of experience helping drivers injured in car accidents. We are familiar with Illinois laws and can help clients who have been injured or lost a loved one through no fault of their own. Contact Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. at 1-800-Salvi-Law or by filling out our online chat form. We provide free initial consultations and serve clients throughout Chicago and Illinois.