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sign and drive lawAccording to a recent press release from the Governor’s office, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn enacted new legislation to end the practice of requiring Illinois drivers from having to post their driver’s licenses as security for certain traffic offenses under the Illinois Vehicle Code. Formerly, Illinois drivers given a citation for certain offenses had to relinquish their driver’s licenses to police until their fine was paid or until they attended a required court appearance.  When the new legislation, called the “Sign and Drive” law, becomes effective, motorists will only need to give their signatures as a promise that they will comply with terms of the citation and will pay their fines or appear in traffic court as required.

Drivers Can Now Keep Their Licenses

These charged drivers will be permitted to hold onto their driver’s licenses and use them for identification as needed. As before, drivers who do not comply with the terms of citations may still have their licenses suspended. Illinois’s “Sign and Drive” law was first proposed by State Senator Michael Noland (D-Elgin), and State Representative John D’Amico (D-Chicago).

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illinois traffic violationsMany people spend a lot of their time in their cars and consequently find themselves racking up more than a few traffic tickets each year. If you are one of the people who find yourself accruing a speeding ticket here and a stoplight violation there, but promptly pay the tickets, you may believe you are safe from further legal consequences.

This might not necessarily be true. According to the Illinois Vehicle Code, repeated traffic violations may lead to significant legal penalties. Repeated driving violations can raise insurance rates and result in heavy fines, mandatory classes or community service or even jail time.

Illinois Traffic Law

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Cars in TrafficOn January 8th, Illinois joined New Mexico and Washington as a state which allows illegal immigrants to receive valid driver’s licenses.  The bill originally failed in 2007 by two votes, but passed the house last year 65-46.  The hope is that by making licenses available to everyone on the road will make the roads safer for all by avoiding traffic violations.

The supporters of this bill used statistics to prove the necessity of this new law.  There are an estimated 250,000 illegal immigrants who are old enough to drive yet cannot receive licenses to operate vehicles.  The Illinois Coalition for Immigrants and Refugee Rights has said that these illegal drivers cause around $64 million in damages per year, a cost that is carried by people who pay for insurance.

Past requirements for licensing were a valid social security number or other documentation proving a right to be in the country.  Now, this new bill will allow illegal immigrants who have lived in Illinois for a year and can show a lease agreement, utility bills or other documents showing the residency requirement and a $30 application fee to receive a driver’s license.  The license is temporary and needs to be renewed every three years but cannot be used to board airplanes, buy guns, or vote in general elections.

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Multiple police departments are working together to make Ogden Avenue a safer road for Illinois drivers.  It was initiated by the Naperville police department but stretches from Kendall County all the way to the boundary of Ogden Ave in Berwyn in Cook County.  Police Departments included in this initiative are Woodridge, Aurora, Oswego, Hinsdale, Yorkville, Downers Grove, Western Springs, Berwyn, and Lisle.  The DuPage County sheriff’s office, Kendall County sheriff’s office and Illinois State police will also be on the lookout for law breakers.

The Naperville police department released a statement outlining the purpose of this program.  The release stated that "the purpose of the campaign is to increase the safety of motorists utilizing the thoroughfare through education and traffic enforcement.  Our efforts will concentrate on speed, occupant restraint violations as well as other safety violations noted during our efforts."  The Woodbridge police department also wants to include drivers who appear to be driving under the influence.

While the campaign will only last a day, the message is clear that Illinois police departments are standing behind their slogans, “Click it or Ticket” and “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”.  As police are promising to be more vigilant, you should exercise more caution tomorrow on any street you are on, especially Ogden Avenue.  If you are pulled over for multiple charges or have multiple moving violations you will benefit greatly from contacting experienced legal representation in DuPage County today.

A 2008 study done by the Illinois Department of Transportation indicated that more than 70% of the Chicago Police Department’s crash reports were missing relevant information, and more than a quarter of them contained blatant errors. This results in wildly inaccurate data being generated by the Chicago PD. For instance, in 2006 (the year analyzed in the 2008 study,) the Chicago Police reported 63 traffic deaths, while Illinois state records indicated there were 176 traffic deaths in Chicago.

According to a Chicago Tribune article, state records indicate that Chicago’s traffic crash data has been far from accurate for quite some time. Chicago officials are attempting to improve the accuracy of these crash reports by better training police officers and clerical workers, transitioning to an easier-to-use accident form, and improving their analysis of the information received.

Those who have been issued a citation following an auto accident in Chicago may assume that anything listed in the relevant police report is an indisputable fact. However, that’s not always the case. In fact, Illinois judges commonly dismiss citations that contain major errors. Even if the error is relatively insignificant, the fact that it exists at all can make the judge question the police officer’s accuracy in reporting the most relevant details of the crash.

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