Last Friday, Governor Pat Quinn signed four pieces of legislation, each of which has a goal of increasing safety on Illinois’ roads. The Illinois Transportation Secretary stated, “Our goal is to drive zero fatalities to reality, and these new measures take us another step in the right direction.”
One of the new laws enacted by the governor, referred to as Julie’s Law, provides stricter penalties for individuals who are charged with excessive speeding. Under this new law, courts are no longer able to grant supervision to individuals charged with driving 30 mph over the speed limit on a highway, or 25 mph in an urban area. An order of supervision typically results in merely a fine or the requirement that the individual attend Traffic Safety School.
In the case of the teenager for whom the law was named, the individual who struck and killed her was driving 76 mph in an area with a posted limit of 40 mph. Prior to this fatal car accident, the defendant had been on court supervision seven separate times for speeding.
One of the co-sponsors of the bill stated, “It is my hope that the more stringent penalties will serve as a deterrent for motorists who put their lives and the lives of others at risk by driving too fast.”
Two of the other laws prohibit cell phone usage in all construction work zones and emergency areas. The fourth new law bans commercial motor vehicle drivers from using a hand-held cell phone while driving. This particular law aligns Illinois law with federal regulations and is intended to curb the number of distracted driving accidents involving trucks.
Motor vehicle accidents continue to be a serious concern in Illinois, resulting in a large number of fatalities each year. Thus far, in 2012, there have been 524 fatalities on Illinois roads, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. This figure marks an increase of 49 deaths when compared to this time last year.
Source: IGNN, “Governor Quinn Signs Laws to Improve Road Safety,” July 20, 2012.