Governor Quinn signed into law Public Act 98-0870 (Senate Bill 2583), commonly known as the Illinois Sign & Drive Law, changing Illinois’ long-standing practice of requiring motorists that receive citations for petty offenses to turn over their driver’s licenses to police.
The Act was introduced as a measure designed to limit the amount of time people spend without their primary form of identification – their driver’s license. By passing the Act, the General Assembly acknowledged the important role a person’s driver’s license plays in their daily routine, from banking to travel to purchasing goods that cannot be sold to minors.
The Act amends the Illinois Vehicle Code to eliminate the requirement that a cited motorist hand over his driver’s license as a guarantee that he or she will appear at his court date and/or pay the citation amount. Instead, cited motorists only need to sign the citation, which serves as a promise that the motorist will pay the fine and/or appear in court. Notably, the Act applies only to violations classified as petty offenses in the Illinois Vehicle Code or local ordinances, and excludes business violations and citations for violating Illinois’ maximum vehicle weight limits.
What does that mean for municipalities? Effective January 1, 2015, local police and law enforcement officials will need to stop requiring motorists cited for petty offenses to turn over their driver’s license. Instead, police officers should require cited motorists to sign a copy of the citation, which serves as the motorist’s promise to appear in court and/or pay the required fine.
Post Authored by Greg Jones, Ancel Glink