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New Laws Aim to Reduce Illinois Auto Accidents

Several new laws may make Illinois roads safer. Four bills targeting traffic accidents were recently signed into law by Governor Quinn. The goal of the new laws is to reduce Illinois auto accidents caused by speeding and distracted driving.

"Julie's Law" prohibits judges from giving speeding offenders court supervision if they go in excess of 25 mph of the speed limit on local roads or 30 mph on highways. Court supervision permits speeders to avoid having violations listed on their record by paying a fine and sometimes also attending traffic school. Current law only prohibits court supervisions in cases where the driver exceeded the limit by 40 mph.

The law was named for a 17-year-old girl who was killed in a collision allegedly caused by a driver going 76 mph in a 40 mph zone. According to reports, the speeding driver had seven previous court supervisions due to excessive speeding.

The other three bills all place further restrictions on the use of cellphones while driving. Current law bans the use of cellphones in school and work zones. The new laws expand the restriction to roadwork zones and accident scenes. With regard to the accident scene prohibition, it bans drivers from using their cellphones within 500 feet of the scene of an accident where the flashing lights of emergency vehicles are displayed.

The final regulation prohibits truckers from texting while driving, which brings the state in line with current federal regulations.

"These new laws will protect children and families, and prevent dangerous trends such as distracted driving," explained Governor Quinn.

Source: Land Line Magazine, "Illinois governor inks four bills to improve road safety," Keith Goble, July 24, 2012.

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