A new year. A new driving landscape for drivers across the country. For those of us in Iowa and Illinois, we have a few updated laws, and a few that will disappear.

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I have included links to the complete list of new laws below, but for Illinois drivers, the main changes occur in the Scott's Law (also referred to as the "Move Over" law), dictating that drivers are to move to the far lane away from vehicles on the shoulder. The law included emergency vehicles like Police, Fire, IDOT etc. and added for 2017 will be ALL pulled-over vehicles. While it may not seem like a big change, if you use the highways, consider the amount of traffic you will now have to account for when everyone has to begin moving into the farthest lane. Keep your eyes open! Illinois is also increasing the severity of penalty in construction zones, and for driving around crossing gates.

  • In an effort to protect first responders, Scott’s Law, the “Move Over” law, requires that motorists slow down or change lanes when approaching a stationary emergency vehicle with emergency lights activated. Beginning in 2017 this law will also apply to any vehicle on the side of the road with hazard lights activated. If you see flashing lights ahead, please move over or slow down.
  • When entering a work or school zone, you need to eliminate distractions and make sure you are driving at the posted speed limit. If you decide to speed through a work or school zone after the first of the year, you may end up in jail. Speeding 26 miles per hour or more, but less than 35 miles per hour, is now a Class B misdemeanor, and 35 miles per hour or more in excess of the posted work or school zone speed limit is now a Class A misdemeanor. This law became effective January 1, 2016, and is being emphasized now for greater public awareness.
  • If you have been convicted of driving without insurance and you still choose to drive without insurance, your vehicle could be impounded the next time you’re stopped by the police. The law now requires officers to tow your vehicle if you have been convicted of driving without insurance within the prior 12 months and you are receiving another citation for driving without insurance.

Iowa drivers holding their breath waiting for the senseless camera tickets to disappear are one step closer in 2017. In January or early February, legislation banning the cameras will cross the Governor's desk. With an expected passage (as Iowa changes Governors) even Cedar Rapids, where the expected revenue for the cameras come to about $3 million annually, is keeping the revenue off the books for fiscal year 2018 as a precaution. That's a good sign.

No verbiage for refunds is included for folks already affected, so keep your wits about you in Iowa for the thinly veiled 'safety' zones where these cameras still operate for now.

For a complete list of all the new Public Acts, please go to the Illinois General Assembly web site here.

For a complete list of all the new Public Acts, please go to the Iowa Legislature web site here.