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New traffic laws go into effect next year in Ilinois

One of the most frustrating things for Illinois drivers is to get pulled over and stopped by police for a traffic violation. Many of us may not even realize we are in violation of a law at the time that we see the flashing lights in our rearview mirrors. The traffic laws in Illinois change quite frequently and it can be very confusing to try and keep up with all the changes. It can also be frustrating that many laws vary between states, so what may be lawful in one state could get a driver slapped with a hefty ticket in another.

For example, drivers in Illinois may not be aware that there will be two new laws that go into effect in 2014. They deal with speed limits and distracted driving and in a matter of months, drivers may need to adjust to new driving behaviors in order to stay in compliance with the new restrictions.

Governor Pat Quinn recently signed the two new pieces of legislation into laws, of which drivers need to be aware come 2014. The first law targets the speeds at which drivers can travel on rural interstates in Illinois. The speed limit on these roads will increase to 70 mph, though drivers can be cited for a misdemeanor at lower speeds. Currently, drivers stopped for driving 31 mph over the speed limit can be charged with a misdemeanor. When the limit increases to 70 mph, drivers going 26 mph over the speed limit could end up with a misdemeanor.

The other law that will change is related to cellphone use behind the wheel. Illinois drivers can currently talk on their hand-held phones, but they are prohibited from texting while driving. Starting on Jan.1, however, that will change as a law prohibiting all hand-held cellphone use will go into effect. 

It is likely that many people will be ticketed for these traffic violations at the beginning of next year because they are unaware of the change in laws or because they simply forgot that they had changed. Either way, it can be possible to challenge a ticket in an attempt to have the penalties associated with an infraction dismissed or reduced. 

Source: The St. Louis American, "New driving laws on the East Side," James Ingram, Sept. 18, 2013

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