Category Archives: Traffic Safety

IDOT Secretary Schneider “‘On The Move’ Recaps Winter Driving

Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider recaps one of the most driving challenged winters in Illinois history and thanks motorists for their patience with IDOT’s snow removal crews.

Study: 1 In 5 Chicago Drivers Ignore Handheld Cell Phone Ban

Using a hand-held cell phone will driving is now banned on all Illinois roads.

Using a hand-held cell phone will driving is now banned on all Illinois roads.

According to an Illinois Department of Transportation study, about one in five Chicago drivers flaunt the city’s nine-year old ban on using a handheld cell phone while driving.

The Chicago Tribune recently reported on the study, which observed over 33,000 drivers on streets, roads and highways all across the state.

While only a relatively small number of towns in Illinois (about 80) had handheld cell phone driving bans on the books, a statewide ban went into effect on January 1st. The study was done in November in advance of the new law in order to track the effectiveness of this traffic safety legislation.

Drivers can still use a mobile phone while driving a vehicle, however they must use some sort of hands free technology like a Bluetooth headset or the speakerphone functionality of the device.

Maybe not surprisingly, Chicago drivers were the worst offenders with 18% of all observed drivers using a mobile phone pressed against their ear or near their face while behind the wheel–despite living in a city with one of the first municipal bans in Illinois. Only 12% of motorists outside the state were seen using a handheld mobile phone while driving.

IDOT Says Illinois Road Conditions Improving Statewide

IDOT logoThe Illinois Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that road conditions
are improving across the state and all state maintained roadways are open.

Interstates I-57, I-74 and I-72 had been closed down the past few days due to heavy snows, high winds that caused drifting snow and white out conditions and below zero temperatures that iced up road surfaces making overall driving conditions extremely dangerous.

According to state officials, due to the approximately 375 passenger vehicles were stranded along I-57 on Monday along with six semi-trailers.

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

Harsh Weather Creates Dangerous Driving, Forces Road Closures

An IDOT snowplow clears snow from a state roadway. Photo credit: Pahz/Flickr.com

An IDOT snowplow clears snow from a state roadway. Photo credit: Pahz/Flickr.com

Lots of snow, extremely cold temperatures and high winds have conspired to make driving conditions very difficult and in some cases dangerous.

IDOT Announces 70 MPH Speed Limit Locations

122713 IDOT 70MPH_IllinoisSpeedLimits_12272013The Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Tollway announced late Friday the locations of interstate expressways where speed limits will increase to 70 mph.

The entirety of those roadways getting a bump in their speed limit are more than 60 miles outside the Chicago metropolitan area.

State law changes making the speed limit 70 mph on all expressways on January 1st. But both IDOT and the Tollway declined to increase the speed limits on any Chicago-area expressway. That’s despite data that shows most drivers in off peak times are already exceeding the speed limit and that Senator Jim Oberweis, the law’s sponsor says both agencies are not following the law.

“I think they are thwarting the will of the people and the intent of the law,” Oberweis said. “They’re only giving us 55 [mph], and I’m not satisfied with that.”

IDOT says they will start changing effected speed limit signs on January 2nd and believe the process of changing these signs should be completed by January 17th.

State Senator, IDOT Fight To Over Raising Speed Limits On City Expressways

Cars on the inbound Kennedy Expressway cruise past a 55 mph speed limit sign on their way into the city.

Cars on the inbound Kennedy Expressway cruise past a 55 mph speed limit sign on their way into the city.

There’s a battle raging between an Illinois state senator and the Illinois Department of Transportation on raising the speed limit to 70 mph on Illinois expressways — and Chicago’s expressways are ground zero.

A bill to increase the speed on expressways was signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn in August and is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1. But there seems to be some confusion on how the law should be interpreted when it comes to Chicago’s expressways.

State Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove), the law’s sponsor, said Public Act 098-0511 is supposed to apply to all state expressways, including any that run through Chicago.

But IDOT, while allowing the speed limits on expressways in rural areas outside Chicago to mildly increase from 65 to 70, is refusing to raise the posted speed limit on the Kennedy, Dan Ryan, Edens, Stevenson or Eisenhower expressways, according to documents obtained by DNAinfo Chicago.

“I think they are thwarting the will of the people and the intent of the law,” Oberweis said. “They are setting speed limits at a point where law-abiding motorists are going to cause an accident. Do you tell them to follow the law and risk an accident or break the law and be safer?”

Read more at DNA Info.

Cameras Catch Amazing Expressway Pileup Outside Milwaukee

Raw: 30 Car Pileup in Milwaukee by associatedpress

Listening to a Milwaukee talk radio station, we heard about this amazing multi-car pileup that happened outside Milwaukee during Sunday’s snowstorm.

Wisconsin DOT cameras caught the action on Highway 41 & 45.

Even more amazingly, no one died although three other people died in storm related accidents in the area Sunday.

Here’s more photos and story at WTMJ Radio, “Video captures Highway 41/45 pileup as it happens.”

Suburb Votes To Arm School Buses With Traffic Cameras

Suburban Prospect Heights and Prospect Heights School District 23 are teaming up with Red Speed, LLC to install cameras on school buses to catch motorists who illegally pass a stopped bus.

The Prospect Heights city council passed the measure last Monday according to the Daily Herald.

Signed by Governor Pat Quinn earlier in the year, this new law allows municipalities and their school districts to install traffic cameras, much like red light or speed cameras, that would snap a photo of any vehicle that passes a stopped school bus with lights flashing and stop arm extended when loading or unloading students.

Halloween Safety Tips For Drivers, Trick Or Treaters

jack-o-lanternHalloween may be the most dangerous night of the year for kids.

And not because of all the stomach aches that occur from consuming an overabundance of candy.

No, there are multiple studies that indicate more children are hit by vehicles on October 31st than any other 24 hour period of the year.

So, here are a few tips when you’re out driving on Halloween to make sure everyone gets home safe and sound Wednesday evening.

1-Slow Down