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2014 will bring new traffic laws to Illinois

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Illinois State Police Officials reminded Illinois residents today of the new traffic laws that come into effect January 1, 2014 and will impact all motorists driving throughout Illinois.

Public Act 98-0511 amended the Illinois Vehicle Code, 625 ILCS 5/11-601, it changes the existing legal speed limit from 65 mph to 70 mph on all rural interstates. The Act also allows eight counties (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Will, McHenry, Lake, Madison and St. Clair) with heavily congested highways to opt out and maintain the current 55 mph speed limit.

Illinois also strengthened speed laws on all streets, highways, and roads throughout Illinois. Anyone speeding 26 mph over the posted limit will now be charged with a Class B misdemeanor and speeding 35 mph or more over the posted limit will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.

Public Act 98-0506 bans the use of hand-held cell phone devices behind the wheel. Bluetooth headsets, earpieces, and voice activated commands are permitted. The only exemptions from this law apply to law enforcement officers or first responders; drivers reporting emergencies and drivers using electronic devices while parked on the shoulder of a roadway. Those who violate this Section shall be fined a maximum of $75 for a first offense, $100 for a second offense, $125 for a third offense, and $150 for a fourth or subsequent offense.

Penalties for distracted drivers who injure others or cause fatal crashes by the use of a cell phone would face a Class A misdemeanor, which could result in fines up to $2,500 and less than a year of jail time. Drivers involved in fatal accidents could be charged with a Class 4 felony, which carries fines up to $25,000 and up to three years of jail time.

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