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New laws going into effect in 2020 aim to make roads safer

Several new laws are set to go into effect in Illinois that motorists should be aware of. These laws are meant to prevent behaviors that could lead to motor vehicle accidents.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each day across the U.S., nine individuals lose their lives in distracted driving crashes. One report also from the EverDrive app noted that 40% of dangerous driving behaviors were due to the use of cellphones while behind the wheel.

For this reason, starting in 2020 drivers in Illinois will not be permitted to watch videos on a streaming device while driving. Doing so will lead to a fine of $75.

In addition, legislation has been passed in Illinois that would put a greater emphasis on zipper merging, that is, alternating turns between motorists already on the road and motorists merging into the roadway. Starting in 2020, zipper merging will be included in the Rules of the Road handbook, and the technique could be made part of the driving test that must be passed to get an Illinois driver’s license.

Other laws have been passed that have increased the fines starting in 2020 for reckless driving, driving above the posted speed limits in construction zones, illegally passing a stopped school bus and hitting a worker in a construction zone. It is hoped that these fines will deter these dangerous driving behaviors that could lead to car accidents.

Unfortunately, increases in fines do not always mean that drivers will uphold their duty of care to drive reasonably under the circumstances. Despite these changes to the law, if a motorist breaches this duty of care and causes a motor vehicle accident that injures or kills another individual, the accident victim or his or her loved ones in the event of a fatality may be able to pursue a civil claim against the responsible driver.

Depending on the circumstances, compensation may be sought for damages such as lost wages, lost earning capacity, medical expenses, loss of consortium and others. Ultimately, a personal injury claim is one way to hold a negligent driver accountable for his or her actions, and it can provide the accident with the financial resources needed to recover from the incident.