Drivers in Illinois: the rules are changing. There's a number of new laws that you need to abide by while you're on the road in 2014. If you don't, you can be sure that your Illinois auto insurance costs will end up skyrocketing. So study these new ordinances – and ensure that they don't clash with any of your regular driving practices.
Put down the phone!
First off, and perhaps most importantly: put down your phone, and pick up a headset. Following an example already set by many other states, Illinois has outlawed the use of cell phones, smartphones and other mobile devices while driving. Any driver caught holding a phone up to their face will be subject to a $75 citation, at first – and possibly an increase in their car insurance costs to go along with it.
The only time when drivers are allowed to use their cell phones is in the case of an emergency, according to the new law. However, this doesn't mean that you can't take calls while you're out on the road: drivers are allowed to use either Bluetooth headsets or other speakerphone options. Just don't get caught holding the phone to your ear!
Highway speed limits increased this year
If you're not a city dweller, then the speed limits you're used to will be changing this year, too. As of January 2014, the speed limit on rural Illinois highways increased to 70 miles per hour. Previously, most roads topped out at 65. So speed demons now have a little bit more wiggle room – but drivers still need to ensure that they never exceed the newly-set limits, lest they open themselves up to a litany of offenses and expenses.
Turn off the videos
This one should go without saying, but it's still – rightfully – been signed into law: motorists in the state of Illinois are not allowed to have any form of entertainment or content playing on a video device that's visible to the driver while driving. You may think it's harmless to pull an episode of "Family Guy" onto your dashboard screen while stuck in the middle of a traffic jam – but Illinois lawmakers think otherwise. Keep your eyes on the road every moment you're behind the wheel, and keep all the entertainment in the backseat with the passengers, where it belongs.
Drivers need to be aware of where they park
Under new Illinois law, all drivers who are physically unable to access a meter, pay box, or other method of paying for parking will now be able to park for free at specific metered spaces designed and deployed entirely for their usage. However, if any motorists who aren't disabled use those spaces, they'll be subject to a $600 fine – even higher than the previous fines for parking in spaces designated for disabled drivers.
Don't toss cigarettes out the window
This one doesn't relate directly to driving, but there are many auto-owners it is sure to effect. One of the other laws instituted during 2014 states that cigarette butts are now officially considered litter within the state of Illinois. That means anyone found flicking the remnants of their smoked cigarette onto the street will be open to a fine. So if you're cruising down the road, smoke in hand, think twice before you toss it out the window – you might find yourself fined as a result, which, as in all the above cases, may bring an unwanted increase to your car insurance quotes.