Articles Posted in Traffic Accident

According to the Illinois Secretary of State, traffic tickets for moving violations will stay on your Illinois driving record for four to five years from the date of conviction. Moving violations include offenses such as speeding, disobeying a stop sign, disobeying a traffic control light, and improper lane usage.  The Secretary of State generally removes these offenses at their discretion during that timeframe.

Traffic tickets that result in a suspension or revocation will stay on your driving record for at least seven years from the date of license reinstatement. Convictions for alcohol and drug-related offenses (i.e. DUI) will permanently stay on your Illinois driving record.

Only court supervision or a dismissal will prevent a traffic ticket from showing up on your public driving record in Illinois. Convictions not only count toward the suspension of your driver’s license but can significantly affect insurance premiums.

The number of speeding tickets issued by Illinois State Police troopers has dropped significantly over the past 5 years according to a report by the State-Journal Register. The number of speeding tickets decreased by 40% from 211,857 in 2010 to 126,959 in 2015. In 2016, it is estimated that the Illinois State Police will issue approximately 104,000 speeding tickets.

The article analyzed data through Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act.

While the number of speeding tickets has declined, the number of traffic fatalities is up from 5 years ago. For the first time since 2008, the number of traffic fatalities in Illinois has surpassed 1,000. However, the number of fatalities is significantly lower than 15 years ago. In 2001, there were 1,414 fatalities and in the 1970’s, the numbers were typically around 2,000.

An electronic insurance verification program may soon be implemented in Illinois. This program will make it much easier for officers to catch those driving without car insurance. In 2014, the Illinois legislature established a committee to design the program, which will likely include a computer database that would be accessible to law enforcement during traffic stops. The system would allow officers to ensure you are up to date on your monthly insurance payments. Often, individuals make a down payment on their insurance, receive their insurance card, and do not follow up on monthly payments, allowing their coverage to lapse while retaining the card showing that they are insured. As of now, in order to ensure you are currently covered by insurance, officers must call the insurance company.

It is expected that the Secretary of State will adopt the rules for the program by 2016. The agency has estimated that of the 9 million licensed drivers in Illinois, 6% are uninsured.

Michigan has recently adopted a similar program, allowing police to access information on whether a vehicle is insured by running the license plate through their computer. Michigan insurance companies are required to transmit policy information twice a month, so the information provided to officers is reasonably accurate.

According to the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (“AAIM”), a non-profit citizens action group that has tracked Illinois DUI arrests since 1982, Lake County made the most DUI arrests in the state in 2013. The 233 officers averaged 1.49 arrests per officer, bringing the total number of arrests to 348. Right behind Lake County was Cook County. However, Cook County has more officers in their force. The statistics state that Cook County’s 487 officers made 306 arrests, which is an average of .63 arrests per officer.

AAIM determined that the Chicago Police Department, with roughly 12,000 officers, made approximately 3,400 DUI arrests. The rate of .28 arrests per officer pales in comparison to Lake County.

DUI fatalities in Illinois were down 38% from the last decade. However, the seemingly sharp decline in drunk driving may be due to the lack of arrests by some police departments. Although there is a decrease in DUI fatalities, drunk driving is still a major problem in the United States. One person was killed every 52 minutes due to DUI-related accidents in 2013 across the country.

As part of its DUI statute, Illinois has a provision that provides that any amount of cannabis or controlled substance in a driver’s system may be the basis for a DUI charge. This is the only part of Illinois DUI law that permits a charge of driving while under the influence – even if there is no evidence that the person was impaired or intoxicated.

The most commonly cited example of the law is the person who may have smoked marijuana days or weeks earlier and then is stopped for a minor moving violation or as a result of an accident. If the officer has any reason to believe that the person had smoked marijuana at some point, the officer may seek testing. Often the situation arises in the case of an accident where the person was injured, taken to a hospital and testing is conducted, revealing the presence of a by-product of marijuana, called a ‘metabolite’.

The most recent example of the absurdity of the law is the case of Scott Shirey. In December 2011, Mr. Shirey was driving with his two young twin sons in his car. While driving, he was broad-sided by another vehicle and one of his children was killed and his old child was severely injured.

A new Illinois law eliminates the requirement that drivers post their license as bail for certain traffic tickets. The “Sign and Drive” law (Senate Bill 2583) permits the driver’s signature on the traffic citation to guarantee their appearance in court or payment of required fines.

Under the new law, the Secretary of State may still suspend the driving privileges of those drivers who fail to comply with the citation. Driver’s are no longer required to hand over their driver’s license, which for many is the only form of identification they carry. The new law, signed by Gov. Quinn on Saturday, is effective immediately.

Drivers won’t need to hand over license as bail for traffic offenses,, August 10, 2014

Former Illinois State Police Trooper Matt Mitchell was denied driving relief by the Secretary of State once again after revocation stemming from his involvement in a fatal crash. According to Mitchell’s attorney, the hearing officer recommended driving relief only to have the decision overruled by a Secretary of State official in Springfield. His attorney believes that due to the high profile nature of the case, the Secretary of State is concerned with bad publicity. Mitchell would like to find work and have the ability to drive his 11-year-old daughter to school. His attorney has filed a request for administrative review in Jefferson County court.

Mitchell was involved in a November 23, 2007 crash which resulted in the death of two sisters. Mitchell’s squad car reportedly crossed the center line into oncoming traffic on Interstate 64. An investigation determined that the vehicle had been traveling at 126 mph while Mitchell was on his cell phone and typing on an in-dash computer. He was heading to an accident scene. In 2010, Mitchell pled guilty to reckless driving and was sentenced to 30 months probation. He plans to continue to apply for reinstatement.

Mitchell’s attorney outraged his client can’t get license back,, February 6, 2014

Alex Reyes, 24, is charged with reckless homicide and aggravated DUI resulting in death after a fatal crash with a Chicago squad car Friday night. Reyes, of Joliet, was allegedly driving a car with three passengers when he crashed into a Chicago police vehicle around 11:30 p.m. in the Austin neighborhood.

According the the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office, an 18-year-old man was ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene. Reyes and another passenger were critically injured according to reports. Neither of the officers involved in the accident suffered life-threatening injuries but were transported to a nearby hospital. In addition to DUI and reckless homicide, Reyes was also charged with several traffic violations including driving on a suspended license, improper lane usage, driving without insurance, and two counts of damage to public property.

Man Charged With DUI, Reckless Homicide In Crash With Squad Car,, April 15, 2013

David Kreutz, 23, of Chicago is charged with DUI and a felony cannabis charge after an accident with a squad car on Tuesday night. Kreutz reportedly crashed into the officers’ vehicle after turning left in front of them on North Sheridan Road in Rogers Park around 7 p.m.. The two Chicago police officers were transported to Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston in good condition. Kreutz, who works as a bartender, stayed at the scene after the crash. A police department spokesman claimed that he had about 50 grams of cannabis on him. He faces traffic violations including failure to yield the right of way while turning left, driving without insurance, DUI-alcohol, DUI-drugs, and faces a felony count of manufacture and delivery of cannabis. He was scheduled to appear in bond court today.

Man Charged With DUI After Crash Injures 2 Cops In Rogers Park,, March 27, 2013

Dean A. Suominen, 37, of Shorewood avoided jail time after pleading guilty Tuesday in DuPage County to misdemeanor DUI and reckless driving after officials allege he was traveling at more than 140 mph at the time of the incident. Suominen was charged on January 10, 2012 after his Dodge Charger veered off the road, went airborne, and struck a billboard in Naperville. His BAC was reportedly at .20, more than two times the legal limit. According to prosecutors, a data recorder in the vehicle registered a speed of 142 mph just before the car left the road. Suominen was sentenced to two years of court supervision, 100 hours of community service, over $3,000 in fines, court costs and restitution. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dismissed citations for driving too fast for conditions, improper lane usage, and speeding. He had no prior criminal history or alcohol-related driving offenses on his record according to his criminal defense attorney.

No jail for man accused of driving drunk at 142 mph,, February 27, 2013
Naperville driver accused of going 142 mph pleads guilty,, February 27, 2013