New driving laws take effect Jan. 1

Illinois drivers have some new laws to abide by in 2017 when they get behind the wheel.

Speeding through work and school zones now carries the potential for a jail sentence. Traveling between 26-35 mph over the posted limit in such zones is a Class B misdemeanor and driving more than 35 mph is now considered a Class A misdemeanor.

Scott’s Law, the so-called “move over” law which requires drivers to slow down or change lanes when driving by a stopped emergency vehicle, will see some expansion. Beginning in the New Year, the law will include any vehicle on the side of the road with hazard lights flashing.

Also, drivers who have been convicted of operating without insurance could have their vehicle impounded if they are stopped within 12 months of the first citation, according to the Illinois State Police.

Fines will double for drivers caught trying to go around lowered railroad crossing gates. Drivers who disregard activated gates and warning lights at railroad crossings will face a fine of $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for subsequent offenses.

And motorcyclists will have the option of adding a blue light to the center of their brake light, a move advocates say increases visibility for other motorists while stopping.

“The new year usually brings new resolutions and goals,” said Illinois State Police Director Leo P. Schmitz in a statement. “In 2017 the ISP resolves to continue to work towards strengthening safe driving habits for motorists on Illinois roadways.”

–Staff report

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