This year, Illinois will implement several new laws that will significantly impact its motorists. These laws are intended to both improve road safety and offer certain benefits to drivers in Illinois. One law, in particular, is poised to impact auto insurance — something likely to affect most, if not all, drivers in the state.
No Fines for Carjacking Victims
Prior to the introduction of HB3772, drivers who had their vehicle stolen might end up paying for any fines, traffic violations, or other fees incurred by the person who stole it. This bill recognizes that people experiencing the trauma of carjacking or car theft shouldn’t be burdened with additional financial penalties. To qualify, the vehicle owner must provide proof that the vehicle was stolen (“the owner or the agents of the owner or lessee must submit proof that a report concerning the motor vehicle was filed with a law enforcement agency in a timely manner.”) Illinois motorists could see up to $1,000 in towing and storage fees.
Penalties for School Zone Violations
All parents worry about the safety of their children during work hours, including safety from reckless drivers or traffic incidents. One of the laws introduced for 2023, SB03793, will incur stiffer penalties for those who violate driving laws in school zones. This includes things like reckless driving, exceeding the speed limit, and anything else that might endanger pedestrians in school zones. For example, anyone caught driving faster than 20 mph in a school zone, or passing a school bus that has its sign out, will be required to perform community service.
New Drivers Education Curriculum
With increased traffic and emerging technologies like electric vehicles and driver-assistance systems, driving can be a lot more challenging than it used to be. The drivers’ education curriculum in Illinois was in significant need of updating, and one of the laws introduced this year will do more to prepare drivers — especially younger drivers — to face these new challenges. By producing safer and more informed drivers, the state hopes to increase traffic safety statewide.
Amendment to Illinois Vehicle Code
Another change being made for 2023 is the amendment of the Illinois Vehicle Code. The purpose of this amendment is to make it easier for individuals with disabilities to have that status certified. The change will allow licensed physical therapists to verify an individual’s status as disabled, thus providing them with access to the accommodations and benefits that come with disabled status. Having a wider range of professionals who can provide such verification will make life easier for Illinois drivers with disabilities.
Discounted License Plate Fees
With the economy being rocked by inflation and the possibility of a recession, Illinois families are feeling the squeeze. One way Illinois lawmakers are hoping to reduce the financial burden on individuals and families is by reducing the fees for license plates. This will primarily affect drivers over the age of 65: drivers who qualify for the Illinois Department on Aging‘s benefits program will pay less than half the normal price to renew their license plates yearly.
Discounted Vehicle Registrations
Another discount that will bring financial relief to Illinois drivers is a one-time discounted fee on vehicle registrations. This discount will apply to motorists who purchased a new car or truck manufactured in Illinois. This measure is intended to support the state’s local automotive industry and encourage consumers to “buy local” within Illinois.
Changes to Car Emission Standards
Another change to Illinois car law aims to reduce pollution and promote environmental stability. The state is implementing stricter emissions standards in order to encourage the use and manufacture of cleaner and more energy-efficient vehicles. According to the EPA, these rules are the strictest they’ve ever been. Not only will these changes help create cleaner air and reduce environmental impact, but it will also help save consumers money at the gas pump due to more fuel-efficient cars.
Changes to Auto Insurance Rates
Finally, Illinois is following in the footsteps of several other states and proposing a ban on the use of credit rating scores when determining auto insurance rates. Many insurers factor in credit rating as an indicator of stability and financial responsibility, which critics have maintained is discriminatory and introduces unconscious bias into the process. Illinois is also looking into banning the factoring-in of race and sex when setting auto insurance rates, as these factors are not under the control of the motorist and could easily be seen as discrimination.
This move is likely to impact drivers statewide, reducing premiums for some and possibly raising them for others. Car insurance rates already vary a great deal from company to company (numbers courtesy of The Zebra’s Renata Balasco). Drivers looking for cheap Illinois car insurance might consider comparing quotes and finding affordable coverage that suits their needs.