In recent years, much controversy has occurred over encounters between law enforcement and civilians during traffic stops. The officers expect compliance with their requests and their demands, but sometimes civilians may not comply as readily as the officers would like. Tempers can flare and a routine stop can become elevated into a more serious encounter. People have been hurt or even killed in some of these encounters gone wrong.
In order to address this growing problem, our Illinois Legislature passed a new law, which essentially requires all driver’s education programs, whether in a public school, private school, or a driver’s education company (for driver’s under 18 years of age) to include to address these issues, in Chicago and across Illinois. In their courses of study, they now need to include instruction concerning police procedures during traffic stops, including a demonstration of the proper actions to take, and how to properly interact with police during a traffic stop. This law is to take effect during the 2017-2018 school year for public and private schools, and June 30, 2017 for driver’s education schools when teaching someone under the age of 18.
Whenever anyone is operating a bicycle on a state highway (which means any publicly maintained roadway, street, avenue, etc.), it has always been the law that the Rules of the Road, as they apply to automobiles, also apply equally to bicycles and their operators. But apparently, our legislature felt that the law needed clarification with respect to right of way issues as detailed in Article IX of the Vehicle Code, chapter 625 ILCS 5/9-101. In an amendment to Section 11-1502 of the vehicle code, which originally stated that the vehicle rules of the road already apply equally to bicycles, the legislature added some additional language. It is intended to remind us all that at an intersection, crosswalk, traffic merge, etc., the rules that require one to yield, or that grant one vehicle the right of way over another, apply equally to bicyclists as they do to motorists.
Years ago, an emergency responder was tragically killed when a driver crashed into him while he was responding to a roadside emergency. The result is known as “Scott’s Law,” and it requires that, whenever an emergency vehicle has its hazard warning lights activated, be they blue, red or amber, upon any highway with at least four lanes of traffic, of which no less than two go in the direction of the hazard vehicle, that any approaching vehicles must either move over to a non-adjacent lane, or greatly reduce speed to pass with caution. Violations of this ordinance are considered a business offense punishable by a fine of $100.00 up to $10,000.00, and can result in suspension of driving privileges upon a conviction.
Currently, there are three classes of speeding offenses in Chicago and across Illinois:
- Petty offenses
- Class B misdemeanors
- Class A misdemeanors.
Convictions for speeding offenses may have serious consequences on a person’s life and impact their ability to obtain driving privileges in the future. Fines and costs for speeding offenses can be quite high and can cause severe financial hardship as well.
Recently, a local man, previously convicted of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs on two occasions, was arrested for a third such offense after he allegedly drove the wrong way down a one way street directly in front of a marked police cruiser. Apparently, he had been coming from a family Thanksgiving dinner, where he perhaps may have had a little too much to drink, when he committed the remarkable traffic move right in the presence of police officers.
Chicago’s red light ticketing camera program has received a lot of bad press over the years. This controversial program has been linked to bribery, unfair ticketing, and overall mismanagement. Even the original vendor is accused of obtaining the contracts fraudulently and is facing a lawsuit filed by the city of Chicago over their operation of the program.
But in a recent decision that questioned the constitutionality of the program, a judge ruled that the program is in fact constitutional. The hope for the lawsuit was that it would force an end to the program and reimburse those who paid tickets received in relation to the program, but the class action lawsuit was dismissed with the judge ruling that the City of Chicago acted within its powers to establish the program. Furthermore, in supporting her decision, the judge claimed that the state legislature had approved the red light camera program in 2006, and none of the plaintiffs in the case had even received any red light tickets before that time. Read the rest »