If you plan to drive in Illinois, you are required to take several steps. You must be licensed to operate a motor vehicle, must do so within the laws of the state, and must carry insurance on your car, to name a few of the requirements. But until recently, those who took a driver’s education class in the state did not have to receive an education on what to do if they were stopped by police. While many classes taught drivers how to operate on a public roadway, when to use a turn signal, and how to proceed on an expressway, only some were discussing what a driver should do if he or she were stopped by local law enforcement officers.
Now, a new law passed at the state level is changing that. A bill signed into law last month will require all driver’s education classes to cover a portion of their teaching curriculum on what procedures to follow if the driver is involved in a lawful traffic stop. The purpose of this new law is to help educate this newest group of drivers so that they are prepared for all aspects of driving, including some of the ones they may prefer to avoid.
A typical driver may find themselves involved in a traffic stop for a number of reasons. An error by the driver, a wrong move by another motorist, or even something as simple as a faulty brake light may lead a motorist to being stopped by a law enforcement official. What should a new driver do if she finds herself in such a position?
Now, with the new legislation in place, student drivers will learn about traffic stops before they ever take the road on their own. Students in any approved driver’s education program will learn about how they should stop, what actions they should take, how they should address an officer, and what common mistakes they should avoid.
The new law has sparked some backlash because it does not include an educational approach on the rights of young drivers, including the right to refuse cooperation in some situations. Some in the Chicago community are stating that the law puts these motorists at a disadvantage because they will be taught to act against their interests even when they may not have to do so legally.
If you are the parent of a young driver or someone who will be driving soon, it is a good idea to address the implications of a traffic stop with your teen so that they know what to expect. Talk about their rights and duties and how they should handle such an incident so that they can remain safe while still allowing an officer to perform her job. It is also wise to discuss what actions a teen or new driver should take in the event that a car accident or other traffic incident occurs in the greater Chicago area.
Prior Blog Entry:
Why Drinking and Driving is Dangerous: Alcohol’s Effect on your Central Nervous System, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published September 1, 2016.
New Illinois law to teach drivers what to do if stopped by police, by Duaa Eldeib, Chicago Tribune, published September 7, 2016.