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Illinois governor signs into law new road safety measures

Julie’s Law is named after Orland Park teen Julie Gorczysnski, who lost her life in 2011 after being struck by a speeding driver going 76 mph in a 40 mph zone.

The Trucker News Services

7/20/2012

FRANKFORT, Ill. — Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn Friday signed four new laws to improve road safety across Illinois by reducing speeding and distracted driving.

The governor was joined by legislators, community leaders and families of crash victims to enact Julie’s Law, named after a Chicago-area crash victim, and several additional laws that restrict cell phone usage in school and construction zones. Today’s action is the latest by Quinn to increase safety on Illinois roads and highways.

“By working together, we can deter reckless driving behavior and create safer roads across our state,” Quinn said. “These new laws will protect children and families, and prevent dangerous trends such as speeding and distracted driving.”

SB 2888, also known as Julie’s Law, is sponsored by Sen. Maggie Crotty, D-Oak Forest, and Rep. Sidney Mathias, R-Arlington Heights). The law prohibits courts from granting supervision to any defendant charged with operating a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than 30 mph over the posted speed limit, or in excess of 25 mph in an urban district.

Julie’s Law is named after Orland Park teen Julie Gorczysnski, who lost her life in 2011 after being struck by a speeding driver going 76 mph in a 40 mph zone. The driver who collided with Gorczysnski’s car had previously been placed on court supervision seven times for excessive speeding. The law is effective Jul. 1, 2013.

Quinn also signed additional laws to improve traffic safety.

SB 2488 expands the definition of construction and maintenance work zones to include areas where Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) or a local agency has posted signage advising motorists of an approaching speed zone. This expansion prohibits the use of cell phones in all roadway work zones, which will prevent distracted driving and increase protection for work crews. Previously, the use of cell phones was only prohibited in work zones with speed limit reductions. The law is effective Jan. 1, 2013.

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HB 5099 prohibits motorists from using mobile phones when driving within 500 feet of an emergency scene, and expands the definition of “electronic message.” The legislation will reduce distracted driving by banning talking and taking photos on a mobile device near an emergency scene. The law is effective immediately.

HB brings the Illinois Vehicle Code (IVC) into compliance with federal regulations, and prohibits a commercial motor vehicle operator from using a hand-held mobile phone or engaging in texting while driving. The legislation also amends the code to include texting or using a hand-held mobile device as a “serious traffic violation.” The law is effective Jan. 1, 2013.

“Our goal is to drive zero fatalities to reality, and these new measures take us another step in the right direction,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider.

For more information about traffic safety, visit www.dot.state.il.us.

The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at editor@thetrucker.com.

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