New Ill. laws go into effect in January

December 30, 2009 4:59:52 PM PST
As the new year approaches, it is important to know that nearly 300 new or amended Illinois laws take effect January 1.One of them is the Illinois Safe Haven Law. The window for parents to anonymously relinquish an unharmed baby has been extended from seven days to 30 days after the birth of the child. Newborns can be handed to personnel at a hospital, emergency care facility, police station or fire station no questions asked.

Dawn Geras, founder of the Save Abandoned Babies Foundation, worked hard for the 30-day extension.

"The parent can turn in an unharmed baby 30 days old or younger to personnel at any police or fire station or hospital. It's going to give parents more time to think about this forever after, permanent decision," said Geras.

There are a number of laws that will affect drivers, including the ban on texting or reading text messages while driving. It can be a serious offense.

"Upon conviction, it would be a mark against your driving record, and there are also fines ranging anywhere from $75 to $150. This is one that seemed to be one of the most onerous. One of the most offensive and it really is very selfish conduct. Get off the road if the message is that important," said Dave Druker, Secretary Of State spokesperson.

Druker says people should also be aware of the ban on hand held phone conversations when a motorist is in a construction zone or school zone.

"A couple of other things that will go into effect which was a ban on cell phone use in school zones and in work construction zones," said Druker.

Druker says one law many may not be aware of is that the minimum age for operating a low speed electric or gas powered bicycle is 16 years old. Those low speed electric or gas bicycles, which travel more than 20 miles per hour, may not be operated on streets, highways and sidewalks.

"They will not be allowed to be used on intersections on streets, and as a result, people should not be doing it. This would include streets, highways, and sidewalks," said Druker.

Druker added that it is impossible to ban everything. However, people should use common sense and not read, talk on their cell phones , put on makeup, shave, play with their radios ,type in addresses on their GPS or get distracted while operating a vehicle.

The idea behind these bans is to discourage bad behavior.


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