Spring Safety Reminders
As spring arrives, the Highland Park Police Department reminds residents about the local and state laws and rules in place to increase public safety and improve quality of life.
Statewide Hand-Held Cell Phone Restriction
Hand-held cellphone use while driving is restricted in Illinois. Hands-free devices are permissible, except while operating a motor vehicle within a school speed zone or on a highway in construction or maintenance speed zones. Fines for violations range from $50 to $500.
Share the Road
Motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians are encouraged to "Share the Road."
• Motorists are required by state law to leave a safe distance of at least 3 feet when passing a bicyclist and shall maintain that distance until safely past the bicyclist.
• Slow Down! Motorists are reminded to obey posted city speed limits. Speeding endangers lives and property, reduces reaction time and increases fuel consumption.
• Traffic laws apply to all people riding bicycles. Bicyclists can be cited for traffic violations. Bicyclists must stop at stop signs and may not ride more than two abreast on the roadway. Bicyclists are restricted from using a hand-held electronic communication device on the roadway. Bicyclists are also required to use a light during hours of darkness.
Bicycle/Safety Helmet Requirements
Every person under the age of 16 operating a bicycle, skateboard, in-line skates, or any other nonmotorized, user-propelled wheeled device is required to wear a protective bicycle/safety helmet. Those age 16 or older are strongly encouraged to wear an adequate helmet to reduce the risk of death or serious injury.
Teen Driver Safety and Local Curfew for Minors Law
Be aware of Illinois' graduated drivers licensing laws.
A nighttime driving curfew is in place from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Friday and Saturday for teen drivers aged 15 through age 17. The driver's license of a teen becomes invalid when driving after the curfew and the driver is subject to arrest for driving without a license. Many insurance companies may not cover damages caused by an unlicensed driver.
For the first year of licensing or until the driver is age 18, whichever occurs first, the number of passengers is limited to one person under age 20, unless the additional passenger(s) is a sibling, stepsibling, child, or stepchild of the driver. After this period, the number of passengers is limited to one in the front seat and the number of safety belts in the back seat.
Local curfews may differ. In Highland Park, it is unlawful for a person age 17 and under to be at any public place between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and between 12:01 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Violators are subject to arrest, and fines range from $25 to $500. City ordinance allows exemptions which include: people under age 17 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or responsible person 18 years of age; attending or traveling to or from school, religious or civic activity; or involved in an emergency.
• Pedestrians must yield the right of way to drivers by obeying traffic signals, observing walk lights and using crosswalks.
• When crossing at any place other than a marked crosswalk, pedestrians must give the right of way to drivers.
• Pedestrians must obey railroad gates and warning signals.
• When walking or running at night, wear bright, reflective clothing to remain visible to drivers.
Seat Safety Belts Saves Lives
Drivers and passengers of a motor vehicle must wear a properly fastened and adjusted seat safety belt. Highland Park Police enforce seat safety belt violations.
Start Seeing Motorcycles
In the spring and summer, motorcycle and motorized scooter activity increases. Motorists are encouraged to maintain awareness and exercise caution while operating a motor vehicle near motorcycles or motorized scooters. Motorcyclists and motorized scooter riders should wear proper high-visibility protective clothing to increase their visibility to other motorists and helmets to reduce their risk of death or serious injury.
For more information, contact the city of Highland Park Police Department, at (847) 432-7730, or visit cyberdriveillinois.com.