We are already one month into the new year, but are you up to date on new traffic and vehicle laws that started January 1, 2019? Laws are constantly changing, and traffic laws are especially important in the quest to keep drivers and passengers as safe as possible. Here are a few updates you should know about not only to assure you don’t get a traffic citation, but also to keep you as safe as possible.

Child Restraint Law
Child safety seats and restraints have been proven to improve safety for kids if a collision occurs. As of January 1, 2019, Illinois law mandates that all children under the age of 2 must ride rear-facing in a car seat. Children taller than 40 inches or weighing more than 40 pounds are exempt, but other toddlers should be in a rear-facing seat to stay safe. Drivers can receive a ticket for not following this law – $75 for a first offense and up to $200 for any subsequent offenses. If you aren’t sure how to install your car seat rear facing, consider calling your police department and asking to speak with a community officer who can help.

Texting and Driving
While this law doesn’t start until July 1, 2019, you should be following it now for everyone’s safety. When the law takes effect, people caught texting while driving will be cited with a moving violation that will go on their driving record – even if it’s their first offense. Three violations within a year could result in having your license suspended.  Under the current law, which took effect in 2014, first-time offenses were treated as nonmoving violations while subsequent offenses were treated as moving violations.

Driving a vehicle while texting is six times more dangerousthan driving while intoxicated, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A total of 1,090 people died on Illinois roads last year, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Out of State Vehicle Insurance
Beginning January 1, 2019, any out-of-state driver is prohibited from driving a vehicle without insurance. Proof of insurance must be kept in the vehicle at all times. This can be especially helpful if you have a child or friend visiting from out of state and they are using your car. Be sure they transfer their proof of insurance into your car before jumping behind the wheel.

Follow vehicle safety rules while out on the road, and stay safe out there!