This Wednesday will be “Speed Awareness Day” which means extra traffic enforcement


This coming Wednesday will be the third annual “Speed Awareness Day.”

According to Central Illinois Proud:

During the day of awareness, motorists can expect to see and increase in police presence. The Illinois State Police is taking a proactive approach to promote safety for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists through enforcement and education.

Pretty much every police department, from Addison to Zion will ramping up their speed enforcement on Wednesday.  So don’t say that I didn’t warn you.

And as a further reminder, driving 26-34 miles per hour over the speed limit is a Class B misdemeanor, and 35 miles or over is a Class A misdemeanor.

Please slow down.

Illinois one of toughest states for speeding, reckless driving according to study


Illinois’ police forces may not give out the most speeding tickets but when they do, state laws make them some of the most expensive in the nation.

A new report by financial service company WalletHub found that Illinois comes down the harder on speeders than nearly any other state but it has some of the harshest penalties in the nation. It was tied with three other states for eighth-strictest overall and fourth in terms of speeding enforcement, behind only Virginia, Arizona and New Mexico. It ranked fourth in the nation in terms of WalletHub’s “speeding enforcement” rankings. That’s based on threshold for an automatic reckless driving ticket, average hike in insurance premium after a ticket, and how much a speeding ticket counts toward a suspension.

WalletHub Analyst Jill Gonzalez said one ticket in Illinois gets a speeder much closer to a license suspension than other states.

“It has about 45 percent in terms of how much a speeding ticket counts toward a suspension,” she said. “Usually, a ticket is 15 percent counted toward a suspension.”

Illinois also ranked high on the list because of the long jail sentences and costly fines for reckless driving.

“Illinois has some of the highest days in jail after a first conviction at ten days and 20 for a second and the fines are some of the most expensive in the country as well,” Gonzalez said.

Read the full story here:

Gov. Rauner signs bill allowing supervision for first offense aggravated speeding more than 26 mph over limit

Governor Rauner has signed House Bill 1453, which amends the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code to allow court supervision for first-time offenders who are charged with aggravated speeding (over 26 mph over the limit).

Here is the official summary:

Amends the Unified Code of Corrections. Provides that an order of supervision is not available to a defendant charged with speeding 26 miles per hour or more in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit established under the Illinois Vehicle Code or a similar provision of a local ordinance if the defendant has been: (1) previously convicted for that violation or a similar provision of a local ordinance or any similar law of another state; or (2) previously assigned supervision for that violation of the Illinois Vehicle Code or a similar provision of a local ordinance or any similar law of another state (rather than not available for a first-time offender).

Under the new law, supervision will not be permitted if the aggravated speeding occurred in a construction zone or in an “urban district.”  The new law will go into effect January 1, 2016.

So why is this important?

Under the current law, aggravated speeding is either a Class B (26-34 miles over the limit) or Class A misdemeanor (35 or more mph over the limit) and not eligible for supervision.

Illinois law defines “supervision” as “a means of disposition and revocable release without probationary supervision, but under such conditions and reporting requirements as are imposed by the court, at the successful conclusion of which disposition the defendant is discharged and a judgment dismissing the charges is entered.” 730 ILCS 5/5-1-21.

One court has stated that “the status of a case under an order of supervision then becomes in the nature of a continuance until the conclusion of the period of supervision whereupon the court shall discharge the defendant and enter a judgment dismissing the charges if the defendant successfully complied with the conditions of supervision.” The Illinois Supreme Court has held that supervision is not a conviction.

Supervision is a permissible sentence for most Class A misdemeanors, at least for the first offense.  So offenses such as battery, retail theft, DUI or reckless driving have been “supervision eligible” but speeding was not.  The result is that for a “crime” most commonly committed by otherwise law-abiding citizens, (most often young drivers) would result in a harsher sentence than the typical misdemeanor, and they would become a convicted criminal merely for going 81 on the interstate.

This change in the law is only common sense.  My only suggestion is that the law should be even more lenient, and allow for a sentence of supervision for this offense so long as the motorist has not had a similar offense within the past five or ten years.

“The Wire” and “Walking Dead” actor arrested for DUI, speeding 107 mph

gilliamFrom the Fayette County Citizen:

The cast member who plays Father Gabriel on AMC’s “The Walking Dead” was arrested in Peachtree City on May 3 for driving at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour on Ga. Highway 74.

Seth K. Gilliam, 46, was charged with speeding, reckless driving, DUI alcohol and misdemeanor marijuana, according to records.

Peachtree City police reports indicate that Gilliam was stopped on May 3 at approximately 2:12 a.m. after traveling approximately 107 miles per hour along Hwy. 74 at the intersection with Georgian Park. Gilliam was stopped by officers and taken into custody at the intersection of Senoia Road and Hwy. 74.

The police report stated that Gilliam applied the brakes prior to passing the officer and was still traveling at 107 miles per hour.

Officers at the scene reported smelling alcohol on Gilliam’s breath and finding a marijuana cigarette inside a cigarette pack in the arm rest of the door, according to reports.

Asked why he was driving at that rate of speed, Gilliam said he normally drove a Jeep and the Chevrolet he was driving was a rental vehicle and it was different, officers said.

Upon arriving at the Fayette County Jail, a field sobriety test was administered with Gilliam’s consent. Subsequent to the test Gilliam was charged with DUI alcohol after registering a blood alcohol reading of .107. Gilliam told officers he had consumed three beers and one shot of alcohol, the report said.

Gilliam plays Father Gabriel Stokes on The Walking Dead and has appeared in a number of movies and television productions, according to

Richard Dent charged with aggravated speeding for going 107 mph on the Edens


I remember back during Richard Dent’s heyday with the Chicago Bears, every year there would be a race amongst the players on the last day of training camp, to see who could get from Platteville to Halas Hall the fastest.  The sportswriters of the day treated this as another wonderful chapter of the already legendary “Monsters of the Midway” 1980’s Chicago Bears.

Unfortunately for Richard Dent, times have changed, even if his driving hasn’t.

According to the Chicago Tribune:

Former Chicago Bears defensive end and Super Bowl XX Most Valuable Player Richard Dent was arrested for excessive speeding in the early morning hours Tuesday in Northfield, police said.

According to Northfield police, Dent was driving 107 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone on the Edens Expressway, or Interstate 94, shortly before he was stopped…

According to a police report, Dent was stopped at 1:55 a.m. on I-94 near Willow Road.

He was arrested at 2:13 a.m. and taken to the Northfield Police Department, where he posted a signature bond and was released at 2:40 a.m., police said.

The report said Dent was “very cooperative” with police during the arrest.

Dent is next scheduled to appear in Cook County Circuit Court in Skokie on May 15.

If he is found guilty of aggravated speeding over 40 mph over the posted speed limit, Dent could be sentenced up to 364 days and/in jail or fined up to $2,500.  If his driving record isn’t too bad, a sentence of conditional discharge with community service and a fine is more likely than jail.

For the 95 per cent of you who speed, beware of upcoming new aggravated speeding law

According to a study conducted by the Illinois Tollway and published by the Chicago Tribune this weekend, 95% of the drivers on our local highways are traveling above the posted speed limit.  Average highway speeds were 71 mph — over 15 miles over the limit in most places.

This news is timely, since the aggravated speeding statute has been amended once again, effective January 1, 2014.  As of that date, it will be a Class B misdemeanor to speed between 26 and 35 miles per hour over the posted speed limit (this will be a change from the current law, which makes it a class B for driving between 31 and 40 over the limit).  Over 35 miles an hour over the limit will be a class A misdemeanor (currently, over 40 is a class A).

This law will go into effect at the same time that the posted speed limits in some areas will go up to 70 mph (but probably not in the Chicago metro-area).

So please keep in mind that if you are driving 80 mph or faster on a highway where there is a posted 55 limit, you will be committing a criminal offense, as opposed to a mere traffic violation.  Even if it is your first offense, the minimum sentence will be a conviction, so this means that you will be at risk of becoming a convicted criminal.

Anyone going 90 or faster will be at risk of getting a conviction for a class A offense.  Keep in mind, this is the same level of classification as misdemeanor DUI, theft or battery.


Speeding citations have dropped 25% in the past 2 years. Why is that?

According to the Chicago Sun-Times,

A Sun-Times analysis of more than 120,000 speeding tickets issued in 2011 and 2012 in the city and parts of 13 counties surrounding the Chicago area found 25 percent fewer tickets were issued to drivers from 2010 to 2012…

From 2007 to 2011, there was a 3.8 percent decrease in the number of vehicle miles driven, and a 1.7 percent decrease in the number of registered motor vehicles, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

So why did the numbers drop so suddenly after 2011, when there was only a minor reduction in the four years previous?

I have to believe that new laws that greatly increased the penalties for aggravated speeding have had an effect.  Beginning in 2011, speeding 31 or more miles over the speed limit became a class B misdemeanor, punishable up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,500. (Since 2000, speeding 40 or more mph over the limit has been a Class A misdemeanor).

This means that as of 2011, all sorts of people who have never committed a “criminal” act in their lives were now being charged with serious misdemeanors.

That means legal fees, and fear of going to jail and/or a criminal record.  On top of this, the court fines and costs have been going through the roof.  In many counties, it is not unusual to pay $600 or more for a speeding ticket.

Keep in mind that these numbers do not reflect the even harsher speeding law that went into effect July 1, 2013.  Now, supervision as a sentence is not available for anyone going more than 25 mph over the limit in an urban area or 31 mph on a non-urban highway.  So a high speeder will become a convicted criminal.  This may cost the driver employment opportunities that will far exceed the cost of the fine.

Personally, I feel that these laws have gone too far and that anyone accused of aggravated speeding should be given an opportunity for supervision and/or a chance to clear his or her driving record after several years of good driving.

What do you think?

Illinois House votes for 70 mph speed limit just as tougher speeding laws are about to go into effect

Today the Illinois House voted to pass a new law raising the speed limit on non-urban interstate highways from 65 to 70 mph.  The Illinois Senate has already approved the measure, so now it goes to the Governor for signature.  If passed, Illinois would become the 35th state with a 70 mph limit.

This comes one month before the new “Julie’s Law” goes into effect, which will prevent judges from granting court supervision for anyone speeding more than 31 miles over the limit in a rural area, or 25 miles over in an urban area.

Mixed signals, eh?