Governor Pritzker Signs into law stronger Traffic Violation Penalties

By Benjamin Cox on July 31, 2019 at 9:17am

Governor JB Pritzker signed a package of legislation aimed at protecting law enforcement, first responders, and construction workers. The bills strengthen penalties for life-threatening traffic violations in accordance with Scott’s Law.

The governor describes the package in a press conference to lawmakers in the media.

This law certainly enhances penalties but it also is incumbent upon all of us to enforce that law. As representative [Tim] Butler said on his way here, he saw six violations himself and I know he would have pulled them over if he could have. Truthfully, so many people are violating this law and are not getting caught for it and the result is that people just think it is something that is OK and that they can get away with it. So because so many more violations are being discovered and people are being issued citations, I think the word is going to get out as a result of that as well as the word about slowing down and moving over. The task force is going to play a big role in amplifying this as well.”

Senate Bill 1862 extends Scott’s Law protections to include a stationary authorized vehicle with oscillating lights, first responders, IDOT workers, law enforcement officers, and anyone authorized to be on the highway within the scope of their job duties.

It also ups the minimum fine to $250 for a first violation of Scott’s Law and to $750 for a second or subsequent violation. It also adds a $250 assessment fee for any violation of Scott’s Law that will be deposited into a new dedicated fund to produce driver educational materials, called the Scott’s Law Fund.

Criminal penalties will increase to a Class A misdemeanor. That will be punishable by up to one year in jail if the violation results in damage to another vehicle. It will be a Class 4 felony, punishable by up to one to three years in prison if the violation results in the injury or death of another person.

An aggravating factor will be added to reckless homicide charges if Scott’s Law was violated.

A written question on Scott’s Law will also now be added to the driver’s license test.

The law takes effect immediately.

Senate Bill 2038 creates the Move Over Task Force.

The task force will study the causes of violations and find ways to protect law enforcement, emergency responders, and residents.

It will be made up of 20 members. The task force will have to present a report and recommendations to the General Assembly no later than Jan. 1, 2020.

The law takes effect immediately.

Senate Bill 1496 increases fees for traffic violations in construction zones.

The new law sets a penalty of between $100 and $1,000 for a driver who disobeys traffic-control devices within designated highway construction zones or maintenance zones and increases the penalty cap for a person who violates the rules on entering a construction or maintenance zone when workers are present from $10,000 to $25,000.

The law takes effect January 1st, 2020.