What You Need to Know About the New Illinois Traffic Laws of 2020

There were an estimated 276 million vehicles on the road in the U.S. as of the first quarter of 2019. Unfortunately, there are also millions of fatalities due to reckless driving, distracted driving, and failing to follow traffic laws.

The state of Illinois continues to seek ways to reduce accidents and their devastating effects. You will see a number of new laws in 2020 in an effort to combat the problem. Some of the Illinois traffic laws come with stiff fines and other penalties.

Here is our overview of changes to Illinois traffic rules so you can drive safer and avoid crashing into a violation.

A Look at Accident’s Stats

Americans love their cars. Our vehicles are both a passion and a necessity since we need them to get to work and transport our children to school and other activities. At the same time, we are not always the safest drivers.

Careless and distracted driving, as well as violations of traffic rules, results in millions of fatalities and injuries.

Here are some of the traffic accident statistics throughout the country: 

  • 40,372 people died in car accidents in 2017
  • In 2016, speeding killed 10,111 people in the US
  • Aggressive driving causes 66% of traffic fatalities
  • Around 2 million drivers are seriously injured in car accidents
  • Driver-related factors (error, impairment, fatigue or distraction) were present in 90% of crashes
  • School bus drivers reported that 83,944 vehicles passed their stopped bus illegally in a single day

It is clear that bad driving habits and aggressive behavior behind the wheel result in loss of life and serious injury, not to mention the financial consequences of an accident.

Illinois’ new traffic laws are meant to curb the problem. Let’s look at some of the main pieces of legislation that will go into effect this year.

Illinois Traffic Laws to Know About in 2020

New laws in 2020 aim to curb reckless driving, reduce distractions from smart devices, and increase safety in construction, crosswalks, and school zones. Here are some of the main laws you’ll need to follow.

Updates to Scott’s Law

Scott’s Law is also known as the “move over law.” The rules call for drivers to reduce speed and change lanes when emergency vehicles are stopped on the side of the road.

It’s not new legislation, as the original law was signed in 2000 in response to the death of a Chicago Fire Department lieutenant. Lt. Scott Gillen, who was killed when a drunk driver crashed into him while he was helping another motorist.

Scott’s Law also extends to construction zones, requiring drivers to move over when workers are present.

The updates to the law include an increase of up to $10,000 in fines for anyone who violates Scott’s Law. There will also be a fine of up to $10,000 for hitting a construction worker.

There have also been some clarifications to the rules. For instance, drivers must…

  • Slow down
  • Change lanes
  • Proceed with caution when approaching disabled vehicles

You must switch lanes when emergency vehicles or construction workers are present. Failure can result in a $10,000 fine.

Combatting Distracted Driving

Distraction is one of the most common causes of traffic accidents. The National Traffic Safety Administration (NTSA) estimated that 3,166 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2017.

Statistics gathered from the EverDrive app, which monitors driving habits, found that 40 percent of unsafe driving behavior was caused by smartphone use. A couple of new laws aim to lessen the impact of this type of distracted driving.

1. Electronic Devices

Drivers who cause serious bodily harm while using an electronic communication device (smartphone, tablet, etc.) will have their license revoked for up to one year. They will also face stiff fines.

2. Streaming Videos

Did you know that people actually watch videos on their phones while driving? A new Illinois code now bans watching videos, including streaming videos, on smart devices.

There will be increased fines in 2020 starting at $75 for those caught using devices or streaming videos while behind the wheel.

Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrians are often victims of reckless and distracted drivers. Statistics tell the tale. 

  • A pedestrian was killed every 1.5 hours in traffic crashes (2016)
  • Pedestrian fatalities increased by 27% from 2007 to 2016
  • Distractions are the number three cause of pedestrian fatalities

The governor of Illinois signed Mason’s Law in August 2019. The legislation happened in response to the death of Mason Knorr, who died after being hit by a semi-truck driver who ignored a stop sign.

According to the new statute, your license may be suspended if you fail to yield right of way in crosswalks and school zones. Expect a license suspension of up to a year if you cause bodily harm by failing to yield right of way. 

You can also face fines for illegally passing a school bus with its "stop" arm extended.

Mason’s Law will go into effect on July 1, 2020.

Commuting and Parking Fees

Some new Chicago-area taxes and rules are aimed to decrease traffic congestion in the city and promote more “eco-friendly” driving habits.

If you drive downtown to work or use rideshare services in the city, you will pay more thanks to a “congestion tax.” You will face an additional $2.28 per ride for single passenger trips in the city.

Parking rates at city garages are also going up in order to pay for a state capital plan:

  • 9% hike for monthly customers
  • 6% hike for daily or hourly parking
  • Parking meter rates will increase $0.50 per hour and $2.50 an hour in the West Loop

Keep these taxes and fees in mind if you plan to drive in downtown Chicago, whether for work or a night out on the town.

Become Familiar with New Driving Laws

The new Illinois traffic laws are meant to keep you safer as well as other drivers and pedestrians. Make sure you read up on the rules coming your way in the next few months. Be sure to explore our blog to learn more about traffic laws in our state and local communities throughout the state.

If you are facing legal consequences from traffic violations or a car accident, we can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.