The State of Illinois had more traffic deaths in 2016 than it had in any year since 2008. In an effort to reduce future fatalities on the roads, the State has enacted new laws effective January 1, 2017, that should improve highway safety.
The first and most significant change is the new revision of the “move-over” law.
The new law (625 ILCS 5/11-907.5) states that when driving on a highway with at least 4 lanes, 2 in each direction, a driver must change lanes away from any disabled vehicle that has its hazard lights flashing. If a driver is unable to move over due to traffic or weather conditions, he or she should reduce speed and proceed with caution for the disabled vehicle.
This new law mandates what many drivers were already doing when approaching a disabled vehicle.
It is already required that drivers move over for emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road, but now drivers must move over for any vehicle that has flashing hazard lights.
This law will likely prevent some traffic fatalities, but may result in significant slowdowns on busy highways if a vehicle is stopped. Like any traffic law, enforcement of this new “move-over” law will be crucial in determining the impact it has on the roads.
The state has also enacted significant increases to fines for driving without insurance, and for speeding in construction and school zones.
These laws are designed to further prevent injuries to children and those most in danger on our highways. The laws will also help ensure proper compensation for those drivers who do injure others in traffic-related collisions.
Each year significant changes in the law occur, and it is always a good practice to stay somewhat up-to-date each year on those changes. Doing so may save you money, or more importantly, help prevent future deaths on Illinois roads.