The State of Illinois and the City of Chicago have some new laws and regulations in place for 2020. They range in scope – an increased minimum wage, some new rules to protect animals, and the upcoming legalization of recreational marijuana are just a few – but many of these new laws deal with road safety.
Today, we wanted to take a look at some of those, so that you could be informed about the changes. (For NBC’s list of 50 of the most high-profile laws, please look here.)
- As of January 2020, if drivers hit construction workers in designated zones, they could face the new maximum fine of $25,000. In addition, if drivers do not obey “traffic-control devices” in highway construction zones, they face fines in the $100-$1,000 range.
- The fines for passing school buses illegally have been doubled: first-time offenders now face a $300 fine, and repeat offenders face $1,000 in fines.
- Scott’s Law has been updated to increase fines as well. Now, drivers who fail to switch lanes, slow down, and drive cautiously around emergency or disabled vehicles will face at least $250 in fines for the first offense, and at least $750 in fines for a second offense. Depending on the circumstances, the fines could be as high as $10,000.
- The Tamara Clayton Act is now in effect, and will increase the number of cameras on highways in Cook County. “[T]his new law allows any law enforcement agency in the area to use images from the cameras to investigate gunfire or detect hazards on roadways.”
- Tinted/smoked headlight lenses and covers are now banned.
- It is now illegal to stream and/or watch videos while you drive. Fines range from $75 to $150, depending on how many times you have been cited for the offense.
For the record: we find it hard to believe that it hasn’t always been illegal to watch videos while you drive, too. Your kids and passengers can still watch them, however.
Will the new laws affect my car crash claim?
These new laws are all intended to make the roads safer for everyone. If you are hit by a distracted driver, or get hurt in a construction zone, you still have options for pursuing compensation, and they shouldn’t affect your ability to make a claim for a car accident.
However, it is important to remember that Illinois is a modified comparative negligence state. This means that if you are found to be partially at fault for your own crash or injuries, your award will be reduced by the percentage of fault you share, and if you are found to be 51% (or more) at fault, you can be barred from collecting compensation at all.
For example, say you are driving at night. You stop at a stop sign, and a few seconds later, another car stops across the road from you. You want to go straight, and the other driver wants to turn left. If you and the other driver both start to move at once and you get hit, the other driver should be held fully liable, because you got to the intersection first, and you wanted to go straight. However, if you have tinted headlights, the other driver may not have realized you were moving, and the defense could try to use your illegal lenses as evidence against you. The best thing you can do is make sure you and your vehicle comply with all the laws – new and old – that govern driving in Illinois.
If you or a loved one sustained an injury in a Chicago car accident, we want to help. Gainsberg Law has been fighting for clients throughout Chicagoland for years. To schedule a free consultation, please call 312- 600-9585 or complete our contact form.