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