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Posted on in Traffic Violations

b2ap3_thumbnail_reckless-driving.jpgYou may be familiar with the general term “reckless." Perhaps you have heard it, read it, or even used it as a part of your daily vocabulary. However, are you familiar with what the word means with regards to its application to a driving behavior? What does reckless driving mean in a court of law and what are the potential punishments if you are convicted?

Reckless Driving in Legal Terms

Reckless, careless, negligent, and thoughtless are all similar words to describe the same behavior. They are all adjectives to describe an action committed with blatant indifference toward the lives and property of themselves and those surrounding them. In fact, the Illinois General Assembly explicitly defines reckless driving in State Statute 625 ILCS 5/11-503, which states that a person has committed the act of reckless driving if they:

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Posted on in Traffic Violations

Illinois traffic attorney, Illinois traffic lawsSpeeding happens. Occasionally it is intentional, for instance for an emergency or someone is simply late for work. Other times, an individual is lost in thought and is not paying attention to the odometer. No matter the reason, speeding can potentially put the lives of others at risk and Illinois law seeks to enforce harsh punishment to those who are found guilty of speeding traffic violations. When the odds are stacked against you, it is best to guard yourself with legal backup to protect your driving privileges.

The Laws

The law punishes speeding by minors and commercial truck drivers differently than the general driver. Therefore, for the scope of this article, we are focusing just on general speeding traffic laws. Illinois is one of the states that has an “absolute” traffic law. That means that if you even go over the posted speed limit by one mile per hour, then you are in violation of the law. According to state statutes, the basic speeding law states:

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Illinois traffic violations, Illinois defense attorneyThere are several reasons that a person may be pulled over for a traffic violation, but not all traffic violations are created equal and statistics show that not all drivers experience traffic violations equally across the board. Between 2008 and 2010, the ratio of traffic stops to citations stayed relatively constant, though the number of traffic stops has continued to decline slightly each of those three years: The number of traffic citations declined in type.

Despite the highly publicized cases of African-Americans being pulled over for traffic violations without due cause, in Illinois in 2010 the number of traffic violations for which a car was stopped was far higher among Caucasian drivers. The interesting statistic is that the ratio between stops and citations for Caucasians was much lower (meaning less citations were issued) than it was for other races. This means that if you pulled over for a traffic violation and are black or Latino, you are more likely to receive a traffic citation than if you are white. 

There are also interesting statistics when it comes to the reason for the traffic stop. Nearly three-quarters of all traffic stops for Caucasians were for moving violations, compared with 18 percent of traffic stops for equipment malfunction and 8 percent for license/registration violations. These percentages are very different for minorities. Sixty-seven percent of minorities stopped were stopped for a moving violation, compared to 21 percent stopped for equipment malfunction and 12 percent for an issue with license or registration. Minorities were also more likely to be stopped for a longer duration of time than white drivers.

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Illinois defense attorney, probably causeAs of January 1, 2014, Illinois lawmakers passed a law banning handheld devices from all vehicles. With this followed a shift in police protocol. Prior to cell phone usage in vehicles, police focused on speeding among other vehicle traffic violations and, with reasonable suspicion, were able to issue citations. Since the addition of cell phone usage to the prohibited list, officers are on the lookout for distracted driving and the ever present cell phone glow. If they see a driver with their face down and a device in their hand, it presents reasonable suspicion to issue a citation. However, in the electronics age, everything glows and requires our attention, even devices installed in our vehicles. So what constitutes reasonable suspicion for a cell phone related traffic violation?

What the Law Entails

Illinois bans all cell phone use while driving at all for any age. However, as of 19 years of age, drivers are permitted use of a hands free device, including bluetooth, speakerphone and headsets. Yet, even the hands free devices have limited usage privileges. The following locations are illegal to use even a hands free device:

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