CHICAGO – July 2, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed three bills into law to improve driver safety in Illinois. The new laws increase penalties for drivers who break the speed limit by more than 30 mph on Illinois’ roads and highways, and also prohibit court supervision for those who drive in excess of 40 mph over the posted speed limit. In addition, the laws strengthen seat belt safety and allow decreased speed limits in low-density residential areas.
“As we prepare for this busy Fourth of July weekend, it is important to remember to stay safe and drive the posted speed limit on Illinois’ roads and highways,” said Governor Quinn. “These new laws will ensure that those who drive at dangerous and illegal speeds face serious consequences.”
Senate Bill 3796 amends the Illinois Vehicle Code to create a new category of excessive speeding for drivers who speed 30 to 39 mph over the posted limit. Conviction under the new law is punishable with a fine of up to $1,500 and up to six months in jail. Under current Illinois law, all violations for driving up to 40 mph over the posted limit are considered standard moving violations.
The new law also prohibits court supervision for drivers who exceed the posted limit by more than 40 mph. Driving in excess of 40 mph is considered excessive speeding and those convicted face up to a $2,500 fine and one year in jail. Current law allows excessive speeders to be granted only court supervision.
Under court supervision, the individual often pays a higher fine, attends traffic school and occasionally does community service while promising to drive safely during a short probationary period. After the court supervision period is terminated, the case is dismissed as if the excessive speeding ticket never occurred.
Senate Bill 3796 was sponsored by Illinois Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and Rep. John D’Amico (D-Chicago). It passed the Illinois General Assembly nearly unanimously and takes effect on January 1. The legislation was spurred by a series of news reports that found individuals were being granted court supervision for driving in excess of 100 mph over the posted limit. Court supervision kept the excessive speeding violations off of the drivers’ records, allowing them to stay on the road and keeping their personal insurance costs down.
Governor Quinn also signed two other driver safety bills into law today. Senate Bill 3272, sponsored by Sen. Edward Maloney (D-Chicago) and Rep. Mark Beaubien Jr. (R-Wauconda), requires drivers to fasten the seat belt of any front seat passenger who is unable to do so themselves. Senate Bill 2804, sponsored by Sen. Louis Viverito (D-Burbank) and Rep. Daniel Beiser (D-Alton), allows municipalities with low-density areas to decrease maximum speed limits from 35 mph to 25 mph.