Laws are put in place to provide for the overall safety of a community and ensure the rights of citizens are protected. These regulations exist at the local, state, and national levels. The state of Illinois saw more than 250 new laws go into effect on January 1, 2020. Ranging from legalizing recreational marijuana to increasing penalties for certain traffic-related crimes, these changes are meant to better protect Illinois residents in a variety of areas. It is important for Illinois motorists to be aware of the significant changes to traffic laws in order to avoid criminal charges that could result from a traffic violation.
Also referred to as the “move over law,” Scott’s Law requires all Illinois motorists to slow down, change lanes, and proceed with caution while passing emergency or disabled vehicles. This gives first responders whose hazard lights are flashing more room to attend to incidents on the side of the road. It was originally signed into law in 2000 after Lt. Scott Gillen of the Chicago Fire Department was struck and killed by a drunk driver.
As of January 1, 2020, the fines and penalties for breaking this law have been increased. A first offense carries a fine of $250, and subsequent violations will result in a $750 fine. The Scott’s Law Fund was also created to produce informational materials as well as hire off-duty Illinois State Police officers to enforce this very important law.
Motorists are expected to reduce their speed when traveling in inclement weather or through work zones. In construction zones, the posted speed limit is reduced compared to non-work areas. In many cases, traffic lanes are re-routed or reduced to accommodate the paving of new lanes or repairs to overpasses or bridges. The purpose of a lower speed limit is meant to ensure that drivers do not lose control of their vehicles and strike any workers who are in the vicinity.
Under Illinois law, speeding in a construction zone is a petty offense, punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000, and a minimum fine of $250 for a first offense. A second or subsequent offense can carry a minimum $750 fine. Currently, the most a driver can be fined for hitting a construction worker is $10,000. The new 2020 law increases the maximum penalty to $25,000.
Stopped School Buses
To obtain a valid driver’s license, every Illinois driver must pass a behind-the-wheel test in addition to a written examination regarding the rules of the road. The majority of motorists may know that it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus when the bus’s stop sign is extended and the lights are flashing. This law is meant to keep children who are getting on and off the bus safe from surrounding traffic. The new Illinois law increases the mandatory fines for illegally passing a stopped school bus from $150 to $300 for a first offense and from $500 to $1,000 for a subsequent violation.
Contact a Wheaton Criminal Defense Lawyer
Amendments to traffic laws can lead to traffic violations for motorists who may have been unaware of any changes to existing laws. The knowledgeable law firm of Anderson Attorneys & Advisors has extensive experience in securing positive outcomes for our clients in many types of criminal law matters. Our tenacious DuPage County traffic violation defense attorneys understand how the recent changes to Illinois laws can impact citizens. We will carefully review the details of your traffic stop and build a strong defense on your behalf. Call us today at 630-877-5800 to schedule your free consultation.