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New Illinois traffic laws to take effect in 2019

Lawmakers look to combat distracted driving with harsher penalties for texting and driving

CHICAGO (December 11, 2018) –There are more than a dozen transportation-related laws set to take effect in Illinois in 2019. As we head into the new year, Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. is alerting drivers to the laws that will most impact motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists as of January 1, 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.

“My law firm sees far too many crashes that are a result of a driver failing to keep their eyes on the road in front of them. With people becoming increasingly dependent on their phones and digital devices, it is encouraging to see lawmakers taking a proactive step to combat distracted driving in Illinois,” said Tara R. Devine, Partner at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C.

For more information or to schedule an interview with Ms. Devine, please contact Marcie Mangan, at (312) 372-1227 or mmangan@salvilaw.com.

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