Important Traffic Laws
Effective January 1, 2004 in Illinois. The Child Passenger Protection Act requires anyone who transports children in non-commercial vehicles to do so in the following manner:
Children under the age of 8 must be secured in an appropriate child restraint system. These include:
- Infant seats (rear facing, usually with built in carry handles, safe until the child exceeds the maximum weight listed on the seat - usually 20 pounds).
- Convertible seats (which start out rear facing for infants and then convert to forward facing for toddlers when they reach the seat's listed weight - at least 20 pounds - AND the child is at least one year old). It is recommended that the child stay in the rear facing position as long as they meet the seat's criteria.
- Booster seats, used with a vehicle's shoulder belt system, when a child outgrows the forward facing convertible seat.
The state law prior to 2004 was less effective, in that it applied only to children under the age of 4. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration recommends the use of a booster seat for children until age 8 or a height of 4'9" or they have outgrown the weight limitations of the seat. The Illinois legislation brings the law closer to the NHTSA recommendation.
Please remember that a shoulder belt must be across a child's chest. It should not be across the face or upper neck and should never be placed behind a child. The booster seat simply "boosts" the child up to allow a vehicle's shoulder belt to work as designed.
Children weighing more than 40 pounds may be transported in the back seat of a motor vehicle while wearing only a lap belt if the back seat IS NOT equipped with a shoulder system.
Also, children between the ages of 8 and 16 must be secured in a properly adjusted safety belt in any seat in a vehicle. According to the Graduated Driver Licensing System, if a driver is under the age of 18, the restraint requirements extend to all passengers under the age of 18, rather than 16. Also, for the first six months of a Graduated Driver's License or until the driver reaches the age of 18, whichever occurs sooner, the person may not drive with more than one person in the vehicle who is under the age of 20 unless they are siblings, children, step-siblings or step-children of the driver.
Please ensure your safety and the safety of your loved ones and "buckle up". It does save lives and reduces the likelihood of injuries.
- To clarify the Illinois Vehicle Code, when a bus has its stop arm extended and its signal lights flashing, all drivers in either direction must stop. The exceptions to the rule are if the highway has four or more lanes (opposite direction traffic need not stop) or when on a controlled access highway (on/off ramps, center medians or barricades) where the bus is stopped in a loading zone. A citation for this violation requires a mandatory court appearance. Most tickets for speeding, stop sign violations, etc., do not require a court appearance. Upon conviction in court, the mandatory fine is $150.00 and the Secretary of State is required to suspend the violator's driver's license for three months.
- As a reminder, drivers must turn on their headlights whenever their windshield wipers are on.
- Safety belts must be worn at all times. A new traffic law allows police officers to make traffic stops for that violation alone.