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DuPage County traffic ticket defense lawyerLaws 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.    

Scott’s Law 

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.

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Wheaton, IL traffic violation attorney gps cell phoneDistracted driving involves any activity that takes a motorist’s attention away from safely operating a vehicle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes involving distracted drivers every day in the United States. However, many of today’s drivers rely on their smartphones as a navigation tool while traveling. Even if it is a place to which they go often, global positioning system (GPS) apps may be used by drivers to find the fastest route to their destination. Under a new Illinois law that went into effect on July 1, 2019, using an electronic device while driving can result in a traffic violation for the driver. Even if a motorist is simply holding a cell phone when behind the wheel, he or she can be stopped and issued a traffic ticket. 

New Illinois Moving Violation Law

Prior to the new law, if a driver was stopped for using a cellular phone or electronic device while driving, that was considered an “equipment violation.” This meant offenders did not risk suspension or revocation of their driver’s license by the Illinois Secretary of State. Under the old law, a warning was issued for a first offense, and subsequent tickets issued were non-moving violations.

Under the new law, all offenses involving driving while using an electronic device are considered moving violations. Three moving violations within a one-year period will result in driver’s license suspension for drivers 21 years and older. Drivers under 21 who receive two moving violations within a year will lose their license. The most common device is a cell phone, but the law also includes tablet computers and almost any mobile device with a screen. 

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