New laws affecting Illinois drivers and insured motorists

Maintaining compliance with Illinois traffic laws can be an important issue in personal injury matters.

Maintaining compliance with Illinois traffic laws can be an important issue in personal injury matters.

January 1, 2015 signals the effective date of many new and amended laws concerning Illinois drivers and the maintenance of Illinois driver’s licenses, insurance policies and vehicle registrations. These are noteworthy and every Illinois motorist should be aware of the new and updated laws. To protect against denial of insurance coverage in the event of a loss, it is important to know and comply with the current laws. Ignorance of the law is not a defense against a citation or coverage denial.

New 70 mph limit on Illinois Tollway

Illinois Tollway drivers will now be able to travel the new posted 70 mph limit on tollways in both rural areas and around Chicagoland. When Senate Bill 2015 was voted into law, increasing the limit from 65 to 70 mph, Governor Pat Quinn vetoed the new law in, in part, to only raise the limit in rural areas. The logic behind raising the law comes from safety evidence suggesting that driver’s average speed is closer to 70 mph and motorists are safer when more people are driving consistent speeds[i]. On December 4, 2014, the House of Representatives voted to override the Governor’s veto.

Increased minimum mandatory insurance amounts

While Illinois drivers are allowed to drive faster on the tollway, they will be required to be insured for increased minimum mandatory limits under Senate Bill 1898. The new minimum insurance amounts are designed to protect motorists and people involved in insurance claims with higher minimum amounts because the cost of medical care has increased and the limits had not increased to match higher costs in 25 years. The new minimum limit changes are as follows:

  1. Bodily injury/death for one person per incident: $20,000.00 increased to $25,000.00;
  2. Bodily injury/death for more than one person per incident: $40,000.00 increased to $50,000.00;
  3. Injury/destruction of property per incident: $15,000.00 increased to $20,000.00.

Drivers post their signature as promise to appear instead of surrendering their driver’s license

Many Illinois drivers remember getting their license back with staple holes in the corner after paying their citation. New law, Senate Bill 2583, allows drivers to sign their oath to appear and or pay their citation without needing to surrender their physical drivers license card and “drive on a ticket” until they resolve the matter. Many other states also allow drivers to sign to post bond on minor violations. With identification required for so many transactions, such as withdrawing money from a checking account, it makes more sense to allow Illinois drivers to keep a valid Illinois drivers license in their possession.

Keep a receipt of paid registration renewal and worry not about being cited

Many Illinois vehicle owners renew their vehicle registration online and receive their license plate sticker in the mail. With delays and some vehicle owners waiting until the last minute to renew, there could be a delay in receiving the new sticker. Senate Bill 2802 allows Illinois drivers to show their receipt of payment of registration renewal up to 30 days without being cited for not-current displayed vehicle registration.

Michael V. Favia & Associates represent clients with personal injuries. Maintaining compliance with Illinois traffic laws can be an important issue in personal injury matters. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a meeting with an attorney at your convenience. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates, please visit the firm’s website and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.

[i] The Expired Meter, 70 MPH Speed Limit Coming To Illinois Tollway As Illinois House Overrides Governor’s Veto, Dec. 4, 2014.

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