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speeding, work zone, Illinois criminal defense attorneyAlong with the warm weather comes road construction. Whether it is a road requiring repair from the ravages of winter weather, or the expansion of an existing roadway, Illinois drivers can count on seeing the orange cones all over the state during the spring, summer, and fall months. They can also count on severe penalties for ignoring the state’s rules for driving in road construction zones.

Under Illinois law, a road construction zone requiring decreasing the posted speed limit is one in which either the Department of Transportation, Toll Highway Authority, or other local agency has posted signs which alert drivers that they are approaching a maintenance or construction speed zone. Such a zone also includes areas in which one of the aforementioned agencies has posted signs stating that the established posted speed limit is not safe or reasonable due to current or expected conditions in the area.

However, in order to be in compliance with the law, the signage which posting agencies use must fall within the guideline of the statute. The sign must be of an approved design and must clearly state that the driver is approaching a road construction area. The signage must also indicate what the maximum speed limit allowed in the road construction area is, as well as what the minimum fine could be for failing to comply.

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cell phone, traffic violations, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyOn a typical morning commute, a quick look around will reveal that people multitask behind the wheel in some pretty interesting ways. Some are eating breakfast; others could be scanning a newspaper, while still others may be shaving or putting on make-up.  Of course, among the most common sights are drivers talking on mobile phones or texting while driving.

In January, the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety released its annual report examining various factors affecting safe driving. The report represents a comprehensive survey conducted by the research group GfK, exclusively for the AAA Foundation. In preparing the 2014 Traffic Safety Culture Index, researchers reviewed a wide range of safety concerns including running red lights, speeding, accident rates, and distracted driving.

For the purposes of the survey, distracted driving included the use of cell phones, both hand-held and hands-free, as well the use of mobile devices to send emails or text messages while operating a motor vehicle. Unsurprisingly, a large majority of drivers recognize the potential danger related to driving distracted, and especially to texting while driving. Almost 70 percent of participants support restrictions to hand-held cell phone use behind the wheel, and nearly 90 percent support limits on texting.

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In June 2014, Illinois governor Pat Quinn signed a measure into law that prevents police departments at local, county and state levels from requiring officers to meet ticket quotas as a condition of maintaining their current jobs or as a factor for assigning promotions. Officers are no longer required to issue a certain number of driving citations over each period for designated minor traffic offenses. According to a press release from the governor's office, the Illinois ticket quota ban goes into effect January 1, 2015.

Purpose of the Illinois Ticket Quota Ban

The objective of this new initiative is to promote officer efficiency where it matters and to increase morale towards police officers in Illinois communities. Some proponents of the new law contend that residents from communities whose police departments require their officers to meet ticket quotas are more likely to distrust their police officers and see them as antagonistic force. Further mandating ticket quotas may enhance un-egalitarian enforcement of the law. When an officer feels pressured to make certain ticket numbers and she is nearing a deadline, the officer may be more likely to ticket motorists for minor offenses unlikely to cause danger or harm that are normally overlooked. At their worst, ticket quotas could even coerce desperate officers to ticket vulnerable individuals who appear to have fewer resources available to them to be able to contest a suspect driving ticket. On this view, banning ticket quotas will reduce friction between police officers and the communities they serve.

Additionally, dissatisfied residents may also view police departments in a negative light for disproportionately focusing on legal issues that are comparatively less significant. Residents and some policy makers feel that police officer time and attention would be better spent investigating the types of criminal activities that are more directly harmful towards Illinois residents, such as violent crimeslarceny, or white collar crimes such as embezzlement, in which community members may be robbed from within by their own employees. Banning ticket quotas could free up officer time to focus on issues more closely tied to resident safety. A statement released by Governor Quinn's office provided that "this law will improve safety and working conditions for police officers and prevent motorists from facing unnecessary anxiety when encountering a police vehicle."

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