New Illinois Law Will Require Municipalities to Report Truck Routes

This August, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill into law that will help truckers make informed decisions about the safest, most efficient route through Illinois' municipalities. Potential benefits of the new law may include reductions in Illinois truck accidents and less road maintenance and repair costs.

Authored by Representative Michael Zalewski, D-Summit, and Senator Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, the bill requires local governments to regularly update the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) on their designated trucking routes, or report to IDOT that there is no designated trucking route through a municipality. IDOT will use the information supplied by local governments to create a website that truckers can refer to when making decisions on what route to take through towns. The law will go into effect January 1, 2012.

Benefits of the New Law

The new law's reporting requirements will help make Illinois' roads safer. Presently, truckers have no central resource that informs them of local bridge heights, road weight restrictions or hazardous materials prohibition. Without this knowledge, truckers may make poor route decisions that may put them and other motorists in danger, or earn them avoidable tickets from local law enforcement, who sometimes take advantage of non-local truckers ignorant of the local road restrictions.

Though truckers do use GPS devices to help plan their routes, most available GPS devices are meant for passenger cars and do not provide road restriction information. Now, truckers will be able to access that information on the new IDOT website. In addition to the online resource, IDOT will incorporate education on the difference between commercial and passenger GPS devices into its commercial driver licensing program, and may even include a question or two about the differences on the licensing exam.

The new law will help truckers drive within the law and plot routes that are safer for themselves and those who share the road with them. These changes will potentially reduce truck accidents and keep local road maintenance and repair costs down, since heavy trucks will not be traveling on roads that were not designed with the weight of large trucks in mind. The law will also mean less local traffic congestion due to large trucks traveling on town roads.