Chicago Updates Traffic Safety Laws in 2020

2020 is a year of big changes around the globe, including right here in Chicago. The city recently updated its traffic safety laws through a number of new measures.

A few of the legal updates that you should know about are:

  • School bus fines: Illegally passing a school bus can be fined anywhere between $300 and $1,000 per violation, with the fine escalating with each subsequent violation.
  • Emergency vehicle fines: Illinois requires drivers to slow down and switch lanes when passing a stopped emergency vehicle on the side of the road due to Scott’s Law. Fines levied through Scott’s Law have been increased in 2020. Drivers who do not show reasonable caution around a stopped police car, ambulance, or fire engine can be fined between $250 and $10,000.
  • Construction zone fines: Drivers who strike construction workers while in a marked construction zone can be ordered to pay $25,000 in fines. Additionally, ignoring traffic control measures – like cones, flags, and worker instructions – in a construction zone along a highway can bring a $1,000 fine against the driver.
  • Highway surveillance: Additional video cameras will be placed along highways in Illinois due to the Tamara Clayton Act. The cameras can be used to look for hazards on the road that can then be telegraphed to the Illinois Department of Transportation, which can issue warnings to the appropriate parties. Law enforcement officers are also permitted to use the cameras to collect evidence for any gun-related crime that might have been recorded by them.
  • Headlight tint ban: Motorists can no longer install tinted or smoked headlights on their vehicles. It is not immediately clear if preexisting tinted headlights will need to be removed and, if so, when the modifications must be made.

Watching Videos & Driving is Now Unlawful

Perhaps most importantly on the list of traffic safety updates, though, Illinois has made it unlawful to stream or watch videos while driving. The distracting behavior had been highly discouraged before as it massively increases the risk of causing a car accident, but now a driver can be fined up to $150 per violation.

This legal update can significantly impact car accident claims filed by people who were struck by a distracted driver. If it can be determined that they were watching or streaming a video while driving at the time of the accident, then it stands to say that more liability should be placed on that driver’s shoulders. An experienced car accident attorney could also use the citation as evidence of negligence. If a police officer was confident enough to write a citation for watching a video while driving, then a responding insurance company or reviewing jury should be convinced the violation occurred, too.

For help with a distracted driving accident claim in Chicago, you can turn to McHargue & Jones, LLC. Since we opened our law firm in 2000, we have built our reputation as tenacious fighters for the wrongfully injured throughout the city. Call (312) 739-0000, tell us what happened in your crash, and we can tell you how we can help or what to do next to seek compensation for your injuries.