Safety Laws in Illinois
Compare Insurance Rates in 3 Easy Steps
1. Start Your Quote:
It is the responsibility of every driver to help keep roads within the state of Illinois as safe as possible.
Illinois law enforcement officers consider driving while intoxicated to be a serious criminal offense. The penalty for a first time DUI offender includes:
- Fine of up to $1,000
- Minimum of one-year loss of full driving privileges
- Possible imprisonment for up to one year
Possible signs a driver has been drinking include:
- Following too closely
- Drifting into opposing traffic
- Driving outside designated roadways
- Weaving across the road
- Improper signaling
- Erratic braking
If you see a suspected drunk driver on the road, call 911 and provide the exact location of the vehicle, a description of the vehicle including the license plate number, and a brief report of specific behaviors you have witnessed that may indicate a potential problem.
In Illinois, the Child Passenger Protection Act states:
- A child under age 8 must be secured in a child safety seat. However, if the vehicle is equipped with lap belts only in the back seat, a child weighing more than 40 pounds may be transported in the back seat wearing a lap belt only.
- A child between the ages of 8 and 17 must be secured in a seat belt or child safety seat.
- Children between the ages of 16 and 17 must wear seat belts when they are riding in vehicles driven by people under the age of 18.
Failure to comply with the provisions of the Illinois Child Passenger Protection Act is considered a petty offense. First time offenders are subject to a fine of up to $75, waived upon proof of possession of an approved child passenger restraint system.
If you're in the market for one, you can shop online for a child car seat any time of day. When ordering, make sure the car seat matches your child's weight, height and age.
Parents may also want to think twice before leaving their children in unattended motor vehicles; they could be charged with neglect. Leaving a child (or a pet) in a vehicle could subject them to kidnapping, accidents, or death, especially during inclement weather. If you see a child or pet in a car that you believe is endangered, call 911 and stay with the vehicle until authorities arrive.
Illinois law states that motorists must use their headlights from sunset to sunrise and when rain, snow, fog, or poor weather conditions require the use of windshield wipers. Headlights are legally required when objects 1,000 feet away from your vehicle are not visible. Your lights must be dimmed 500 feet before meeting an oncoming vehicle, or 300 feet before you plan to pass another vehicle.
Motorcycles must be equipped with one headlight that shows objects 500 feet ahead. However, the motorcycle's headlight must remain on whenever the vehicle is in operation.
Illinois law also requires that bicycles must have headlights if they are to be used at night. It must also have a red reflector on the back; you can also use a red light on the rear.
Driving in Illinois while using a cell phone is illegal for:
- Learner's permit holders
- under age 19,
- School bus drivers
- All drivers while operating in school and construction zones
Illinois is also one of six states in which localities are allowed to ban cell phone use for all drivers. Currently, there are 75 municipalities throughout Illinois, including Chicago, with cell phone bans, regardless of age.
All drivers of all ages are banned from texting.
Regardless of whether or not it is illegal for you to use a cell phone while driving, it's important to be cautious when making calls. Distracted driving can be a significant safety hazard, especially when you're traveling in heavy traffic or under poor weather conditions.
In Illinois, the following areas require bicycle helmets:
- Barrington (for bicyclists under 17)
- Chicago (for messengers of all ages)
- Cicero (for bicyclists under 16)
- Inverness (for bicyclists under 16)
- Skokie (for bicyclists under 16)
Motorcycle helmets, although highly recommended, are not legally required in any part of Illinois.
Other Topics in This Section
- Traffic Alerts
- 511 Traffic Systems
- Tire Recalls
- Safety Laws
- How Emotions Affect Driving
- Driving in Hazardous Conditions
- Teen Drivers: A Beginner's Guide
- Seniors: When To Turn Over The Car Keys
- Packing Your First-Aid Kit
- Seven Senior Safety Suggestions
- Wildlife on the Road
- When to Call Wildlife Rescue
- Taking A Mature Driver Course
- Medications & Driving
- Night Driving
- Hallucinations on the Road
- How To Drive Distraction Free
- Treating Motion Sickness
- Road Rage: How To Deal With It
Your Opinion Matters To Us!Send Feedback
- New Study: Voice Texting and Traditional Texting Equally Distracting
- California Bans Use of Cell Phone GPS While Driving
- Teen Driver Safety: Seat Belt Use
- Headlight Laws Vary Little Throughout the Nation
- Safety Laws On Children, Pets, and Vehicles
- Bicycle Safety Laws: Learn Your State’s Helmet Laws, Traffic Laws, and More
We put a lot of effort into making our content helpful & accurate. Please let us know if you see something that isn't clear or correct; we are here to ease any frustrations you may have while navigating DMV topics. We are not a government agency, please reach out to your local DMV, insurance agent, or respective professional for further assistance on specific situations.