Safety Laws in Illinois

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It is the responsibility of every driver and rider in Illinois to keep public roads and streets as safe as possible.

Drunk Driving

Drunk driving is considered a serious criminal offense. If you are charged with DUI, you will face the following penalties:

  • Driver’s license suspension up to 1 year.
  • Possible imprisonment for up to 1 year.
  • A fine of up to $1,000.

Signs that a driver is intoxicated include:

  • Following too closely.
  • Driving outside designated roadways.
  • Drifting into opposing traffic.
  • Weaving across the road.
  • Erratic braking.
  • Improper signaling.

When you report a suspected drunk driver, you will be asked to describe how the driver is behaving. You will also be asked to describe the vehicle that the suspected driver is driving, its license plate number, its description, the current location and the travel direction. An officer will be dispatched to the scene. Do not attempt to stop any intoxicated driver by yourself. He or she may turn out to be violent when confronted.

Child Car Seat

The Illinois Child Passenger Protection Act was enacted to ensure the safety of child passengers. This act states:

  • Any kids younger than 8 years old must ride in a secured child safety seat. However, if a child is weighing more than 40 pounds, he or she may use a lap belt only provided he rides in the back seat.
  • All car occupants must ride in a child safety seat or wear a seat belt.
  • Kids younger than 18 years old must wear seat belts if the vehicle is driven by drivers younger than 18 years old.

All drivers are required to comply with a Child Passenger Protection Act. Failure to comply with this law is considered a petty offense. Leaving a child unattended in a car could lead to accidents, kidnapping or death. Parents, who leave children unattended in a vehicle, if caught, may be charged of negligence. If you suspect an unattended child in a vehicle, dial 911 immediately.


The state requires all drivers to turn on headlights immediately after sunset and before sunrise. The state also requires drivers to turn on headlights whenever there is rain, fog, snow or poor weather. Additionally, headlights are required whenever visibility past 1000 feet is reduced. You must make your lights dim whenever an approaching vehicle is within 300 feet ahead.

Bike Lights

If you are riding your bicycle at night, your bicycle must be fitted with a red reflector at the back and a red light on the rear. These lights must be turned on all the time.

Cell Phones and Texting

All drivers in Illinois, regardless of age, are banned from the use of hand-held cell phones and texting while driving. Only drivers older than 19 years old are allowed to use hands-free mobile device while driving a vehicle. Regardless of whether it is permitted or not, if you are using a cell phone while operating a vehicle, it’s important to take great caution. If you are distracted as a result of cell phone use, you may cause an accident.

Helmet Laws

All bicycle riders younger than 16 years old are required by law to use helmets while riding on public roads and streets. Wearing of motorcycle helmets is not mandatory in Illinois. However, it is a good idea to wear a helmet whenever you are behind the wheel.