Traffic Safety Laws in Illinois
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.
- Loss of full driving privileges for 1 year minimum.
- Possible imprisonment for up to 1 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.
Child Car Seat
In Illinois, the Child Passenger Protection Act states:
- A child under the age of 8 years old 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 lbs. may be transported in the back seat wearing a lap belt only.
- Drivers and all passengers must be secured in either a seat belt or child safety seat.
- Anyone under 18 years old must wear seat belts when they are riding in vehicles driven by people under 18 years old.
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 which can be waived upon proof of possession of an approved child passenger restraint system.
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 300 feet before you plan to pass another vehicle.
Motorcycles must be equipped with 1 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.
Cell Phones and Texting
Illinois bans hand-held cell phone use for all drivers.
All drivers of all ages are banned from texting and using a cell phone while driving. Only drivers 19 years old and over are permitted to use a handsfree device while operating a vehicle.
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 condition.
Illinois does not have a universal helmet law. However, it is highly suggested that you wear a helmet if you are operating or riding on a motorcycle or bicycle.