Governor Pat Quinn today 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 Governor 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," Governor Quinn said. "These new laws will protect children and families, and prevent dangerous trends such as speeding and distracted driving."
Senate Bill 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 Frankfort Square 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.
"A young woman in my district was killed in an accident caused by someone who should have never been behind the wheel at all," Sen. Crotty said. "This law will help make sure that no family will have to endure the loss of a loved one in the way that has befallen the Gorczysnski family."
"This legislation addresses motorists who are pulled over for driving more than 25 miles over the speed limit in urban areas and more than 30 miles an hour over on highways," Rep. Mathias said. "It is my hope that the more stringent penalties will serve as a deterrent for motorists who put their lives and the lives of others at risk by driving too fast."
Governor Quinn also signed additional laws to improve traffic safety today. Senate Bill 2488, sponsored by Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Highwood) and Rep. Karen May (D-Highwood), 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.
House Bill 5099, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Costello, II (D-Sparta) and Sen. William Haine (D-Alton), 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.
House Bill 5101, sponsored by Rep. John D'Amico (D-Chicago) and Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Cicero), 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.