State Troopers have written 8 times as many Scott’s Law violation so far in 2019 as in all of 2018

Illinois’ “Scott’s Law” requires that when approaching a vehicle displaying flashing lights, a driver move over (if reasonably possible) or slow down.  After several major accidents involving death and/or serious injury to State Troopers, they are fighting back with stepped-up enforcement of the law throughout the entire state.

The numbers are coming in, and they show that:

Eight times as many Scott’s Law violation citations have been written so far in 2019 when compared to last year, according to Illinois State Police.

From January 1, 2019 through November 3, 2019, there were 5,860 tickets written.

During the same period in 2018, 728 citations were handed out.

Read the entire story here:  https://wqad.com/2019/11/04/illinois-state-police-see-major-spike-in-scotts-law-violation-citations/

State Troopers riding in Semis in order to catch you texting while driving

From Fox 2 St. Louis:

CHICAGO — You wouldn’t expect to see state police climb into big rigs as they head out on patrol, but the giant trucks are their latest tool in the fight against distracted driving.

The “Trooper in a Truck” program, an initiative between the Illinois State Police and the Illinois Trucking Association, aims to make the roads safer for vehicles of all sizes.

“As we’ve seen in the last 10 years, distracted driving in my opinion has overtaken alcohol,” Master Sgt. Bryan Falat tells WGN.

From their higher vantage point, troopers are able to spot distracted drivers and radio the offending vehicle’s information to waiting patrol cars. They then pull them over and issue a ticket.

More than 20 citations were issued Wednesday alone for cell phone violations, improper lane changes, seat belt faux pas and those following too closely. Troopers say this isn’t about money and tickets, it’s about education and safety. And maybe drivers will follow the rules not knowing who is in that truck driving next to them…

In the year the program has been rolling, troopers have used semi trucks to patrol sections of I-57, I-55, I-70 and I-80, catching drivers doing things they shouldn’t do while behind the wheel. Their goal is more than handing out citations; they hope to change drivers’ daily habits and ingrain the safest way to drive in their brains.

Texting While Driving will become a moving violation next month

From the Daily Herald:

Illinois’ law banning driving and texting is now five years old, and drivers caught violating it will face a stiffer penalty as of July 1.

Scofflaws who text, talk or use any hand-held devices behind the wheel will receive a ticket for a moving violation. Three moving violations in a 12-month period will lead to a license suspension…

To clarify, it’s also illegal to text or talk while holding a device at a stop sign, at a red light or while sitting in traffic.

What if I just take a second to do something with my phone?

Not OK, said Aurora police Sgt. Bill Rowley.

“In the amount of time it takes to simply look down and check a text — if your car is traveling 40 mph — it has already traveled half the length of a football field,” said Rowley, Aurora’s public information officer. That means “if a child runs out on the road, there’s no time to touch your brakes.”

Drivers can pull over on the shoulder, put the car in park and use their devices. Exceptions to the law include reporting an emergency, and if normal traffic is stopped because of an obstruction such as an accident or train — and the car is in park.

Read the entire story here at:  https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20190617/starting-july-1-no-more-free-passes-for-texting-or-holding-your-phone-at-all-and-driving

Penalties may go up for texting and driving in Illinois

From WGEM.com:

There’s a new push in Springfield to cut down on texting and driving. The proposal would increase the penalties for causing a crash while using your phone.

Even though it’s against the law in Illinois to be on your phone and drive, people still do it.

“I’ve seen people text, mostly young people,” said Camp Point, Illinois resident Dave Leezer.

“A lot of times you’ll see them at intersections, looking down at their phones and you can definitely tell they are texting and driving while they’re at the intersections,” said Payson, Illinois resident Janice Huber.

However, a new bill sponsored by Representative Norine Hammond, R- Macomb, would up the penalty for a driver who causes bodily harm to another while distracted.The fine would go from $75 to $1,000, plus a year without a license…

There are some state representatives who think this bill would affect low-income people. making it harder for them to absorb the cost of a $1,000 fine. However, most agreed that the current $75 fine is to low to be a real deterrent for this widespread habit.

The bill now needs a vote on the House floor before it can be reported to the Senate.

Arlington Heights to kick off St. Patrick’s Day weekend with a DUI roadblock tonight

checkpoint

From the Patch:

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL — St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, and with it comes plenty of festivities. The Arlington Heights Police Department announced it will enforce activities centered on the St. Patrick’s Day “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign Friday, March 15. According to a release from the department, enforcement activities will include a safety checkpoint scheduled for that date on Rand Road at Beverly Lane.

This is certainly not the only extra DUI enforcement that will be going on this weekend.  Please be safe and use a designated driver.

Chicago traffic stops increased three-fold in two years

From the Chicago Tribune:

Pedestrian stops by Chicago police officers plummeted in number beginning in 2016 after a new state law and an agreement between the ACLU and the Police Department required officers to more thoroughly document and justify the encounters to ease concerns about racial profiling and constitutional violations…

But a new report from the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois says that at the same time pedestrian stops fell so sharply, Chicago police dramatically increased how often they pulled over motorists.

The number of traffic stops more than tripled, rising from 85,965 in 2015 to 187,133 in 2016, then jumping to 285,067 in 2017, the ACLU said.

The latest report also found that Chicago police stopped African-American motorists at a disproportionately higher rate than whites, Hispanics and Asians…

Multiple Chicago police officers who talked to the Tribune on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly said they believe many officers now prefer to pull drivers over rather than stop pedestrians. The documentation they must fill out for traffic stops is much simpler than the lengthy, detailed reports required for pedestrian stops as a result of the department’s agreement with the ACLU, they said.

Police have the authority to pull over drivers who commit traffic violations, but even if a ticket isn’t issued, officers are still required to document the motorist’s race and other identifiers. These so-called blue cards, though, take far less time to fill out than the reports for pedestrian stops, the officers said.

Read the entire article here:  https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-chicago-police-traffic-stops-20190111-story.html

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

From WQad8.com:

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.