New Driving Laws For 2014: What Illinois Motorists Need To Know

Cellphone drivingWith the start of every new year, new laws go into effect that will have an impact on Illinois and Chicago drivers.

Of course, 2014 is no exception. In fact, there are many significant legal changes for drivers this year. Here’s a short rundown.

Statewide Cellphone Driving Ban

While drivers in Chicago and a handful of other towns cannot use a handheld cellphone while operating a vehicle, a law passed by the Illinois General Assmebly makes this behavior illegal on all roadways statewide starting January 1st.

So, no matter where you drive in the state of Illinois, you must use a hands free headset, speaker phone or other hands free device when using a cell phone while driving.

No More Free Metered Parking For Most Disabled Drivers

Yes, now the vast majority of drivers using disability placards or handicap license plates will have to feed the parking meter like the other drivers.

This policy of allowing any driver with a disability placard to park for free at parking meters was changed two years ago, but did not go into effect until 2014,

Only drivers who possess a new grey and yellow placard can still park for free at meters.

The law still allows drivers who are disabled in such a way they cannot physically interact with the meter to pay for their parking are issued these new placards. Only about 10% of people who applied for disability placards have been issued the placard with more stringent restrictions.

All other drivers with standard blue disability placards or handicap plates must now feed the meter.

Also beginning this year, the fine for drivers caught misusing a disability placard will increase from
$500 to $600.

Speed Limit Increases To 70 MPH On Some Interstates

The General Assembly also overwhelmingly passed a law that would raise the speed limit on Illinois interstate expressways to 70 mph.

The bill’s sponsor, Senator Jim Oberweis contends the speed limit must be raised to 70 mph on all expressways–including any expressways which run through Chicago or the more general Chicagoland area. However, Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois Department of Transportation believe the law only applies to rural interstates.

So speed limits are going up rom 65 to 70 mph on most interstates which are outside of metropolitan areas (Chicago, St. Louis, Springfield, etc.) of the state and keeping those speed limits close to Chicago and other urban areas at 55 mph.

Oberweis vows he will go back to Springfield to get the law clarified so the speed limit gets raised on interstates state wide.

But also as part of this same law, it no longer be considered a petty offense but a Class A misdemeanor if a driver exceeds the posted speed limit by 26-35 mph (previously 35 mph) over the limit and a Class B misdemeanor if a driver goes 35 or more over the limit (the previous threshold was 40 mph over the limit).

Kelsey’s Law

This is a law that will prohibit a driver under the age of 18 from getting a driver’s license if they have an unresolved traffic citation while still holding a Graduated Driver’s License or GDL.

The legislation is named after Kelsey Little who was seriously injured in a car crash in 2011 by a young driver only had a learner’s permit. Three days after the accident, the driver received an Illinois driver’s license.

Patricia’s Law

This new law makes drivers involved in a fatal auto crash ineligible for court supervision unless they maintain a clean driving record.

Patricia’s Law bears the name of Patricia McNamara who was killed in an automobile crash, but the driver only received court supervision.

9 Responses to New Driving Laws For 2014: What Illinois Motorists Need To Know

  1. B says:

    30 over used to be the up to 6 months in jail and 40 over up to a year. That was changed to 26 and 35. Anyway, Oberweis has made things worse overall.

    Meanwhile I see the penalties for actually harming people remain compartively insignificant.

  2. […] A Rundown of New State Driving Laws (Expired Meter) […]

  3. Brad says:

    Also, disposing of cigarette butts is now considered littering. As a driver, if you or a passenger throws a cigarette butt out your window, you can get a hefty fine.

  4. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Brad,

    Thanks for that additional info. I wish littering laws were enforced. It ENRAGES me when scumbags through litter out of their cars and onto the street and it ends up on my tiny, piece of front yard and I have to clean it up. Total scumbuckets!

  5. Rose says:

    Since the city has seen fit to change the disability placard standards, why did they not assess whether the existing disability designated parking spaces are sufficient for those of us who are on the lower tier of disability? I am 66, disabled and still working. This new law has made it more expensive, stressful, and tiring to go to work. I feel like the City just doesn’t care about its’ elderly parkers. Why couldn’t they have included as part of the deal to include disabled people over age 65. Maybe I should just retire and withdraw my revenue stream from the city. I have begun to hate Chicago since Rahm took over

  6. B says:

    I doubt a cig butts law would be enforced except rarely and very selectively but I can have hope I guess.

    I’ve had cig butts land on the cowl panel forcing me to stop and park to remove it to keep the smoke from being sucked into my car. I’ve picked countless cig butts out of then engine compartment and other areas of my cars when cleaning.

  7. Dave says:

    Cigarette butts? I still see full bags of garbage in the middle of the road. They get driven over and god-knows-what scatters everywhere. Car mufflers, lumber and nails from scrap guys. I’ve had diapers bounce off my car hood, from a car in front of me. Good luck with cigarette butts.

  8. Teresa says:

    As if drivers weren’t already going 10 to 20 to 30 mph over the limits now. I saw people eating and driving, their newspaper on the steering wheel and driving, people drive on the shoulder to pass people not going fast enough for them and all this while I was going 70 or 75 to keep up with traffic and that was in 2004, 2005 when the speed limit was 65. Very seldom did I see anyone pulled over in a 2 year period and people flew by me on a daily basis and I was speeding myself.

  9. B says:

    Enforcement in commute hours is quite rare.

    Late friday and saturday nights cops abound looking for prey.

    It is all about selection.

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