IL enacts new laws on texting while driving and “dooring” bicyclists


A new law in Illinois enhances the punishment for texting behind the wheel.

Starting in July 2019, drivers caught using cell phones while driving will not only get fined, but it will count as a moving violation that could lead to license suspension.

The new law signed this week by Gov. Bruce Rauner now makes the first ticket for texting and driving a moving offense. That means it goes on the offender’s record and can lead to a suspension if they commit two other violations in the next year.

And from the Chicago Tribune:

The new law, which goes into effect next July, makes the penalty $75 for a first offense, $100 for a second, $125 for a third and $150 for a fourth or subsequent offense. Under current law, drivers get a warning and no fine the first time.

Distracted driving has been cited as a factor in an increase in traffic deaths nationally over the last three years…

Another bill signed by the governor adds the “Dutch Reach” method of opening car doors to Illinois’ Rules of the Road manual and adds bike safety questions to the state driver’s license exam.

The Dutch Reach encourages drivers and passengers to use the hand farthest from the door to reach across the body to open the door after parallel parking. This prods people in motor vehicles to look back for cyclists and other traffic, and can help prevent sometimes-fatal “dooring” crashes, said the Active Transportation Alliance, a bike, pedestrian and transit user advocacy group. It is called the Dutch Reach because it is taught and used in the Netherlands.

lllinois Department of Transportation data shows dooring crashes on the rise across the state. In 2015, there were more than 300 reported in Chicago, a 50 percent increase from the previous year.

NASCAR CEO and Chairman Brian France arrested for DUI and possession of oxycodone

From ESPN:

NASCAR CEO and chairman Brian France was arrested on charges of aggravated driving while intoxicated and criminal possession of a controlled substance, according to a Sag Harbor Village (New York) Police Department news release.

According to the news release, France was arrested at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, held overnight and arraigned Monday morning at the Sag Harbor Village Justice Court, where he was released on his own recognizance.

“Mr. France was observed operating a 2017 Lexus northbound on Main Street failing to stop at a duly posted stop sign,” the news release said. “Upon traffic stop, it was determined that Mr. France was operating said vehicle in an intoxicated condition.

“Upon search of his person, due to a lawful arrest, Mr. France was in possession of oxycodone pills.”

Aggravated driving while intoxicated in New York is when someone registers a blood alcohol content of 0.18 percent or higher. The drug possession charge is a misdemeanor…

France, 56, is the grandson of NASCAR founder William H.G. France and son of Bill France Jr.

He has held the position of chairman and CEO of NASCAR since 2003. His sister, Lesa France Kennedy, runs the family’s publicly traded track-operating company, International Speedway Corp.

NY Jets Linebacker pleads guilty to two separate DUIs


New York Jets linebacker Dylan Donahue had a busy week last week – in court.

First, he plead guilty to a DUI which occurred when he crashed after he allegedly drove the wrong way down the Lincoln Tunnel last February.

According to

Under the terms of the plea that was entered before Weehawken Municipal Court Judge Lauren Olivieri, Donahue will have his license suspended for three months and then must drive with an ignition interlock device for one year…

Three motor vehicle offenses — reckless driving, failure to observe a traffic control device, and driving with a suspended license — for which Donahue was cited were dismissed as part of the guilty plea, court records indicate.

Donahue must also complete 12 hours of intoxicated drivers resource center classes, under the terms of the plea deal. When he is back on the road, he must use an ignition interlock, which prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking alcohol.

Next, he resolved another, earlier DUI case in Billings, Montana.  According to the Billings Gazette:

New York Jets linebacker Dylan Donahue received a three-month suspended sentence Friday after a first DUI in Billings in 2017.

Donahue, 25, was charged in municipal court with operating a non-commercial vehicle with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit. He pleaded guilty through his attorney Friday and was sentenced at the same hearing.

According to charges, Donahue was driving west on Airport Road on May 9, 2017, when he hit an abandoned vehicle, causing his Jeep to flip onto its top. Donahue said the vehicle was partially in his lane, but a witness disputed that.

Donahue and a passenger were both wearing seat belts and were transported to a hospital for medical evaluation. There was no serious injury and the case was charged as a misdemeanor. A blood draw showed Donahue’s BAC was 0.137. In Montana, the legal limit is 0.08.

Donahue completed a 30 day alcohol treatment program in May.