Illinois boosts idling fines

| 8/19/2009

Less than a week after Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn gave truckers a reason to cheer him for his decision to do away with split speed limits on rural, interstate highways, there likely are quite a few groans over his decision to boost the fines for idling violations.

Illinois law now prohibits diesel-powered vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of more than 8,000 pounds from stationary idling longer than 10 minutes per hour in areas that include Chicago and East St. Louis, IL.

Violators face $50 fines for first offenses. Second or subsequent offenses within any 12-month period result in $150 fines. Certain exceptions apply.

Quinn signed a bill into law Tuesday, Aug. 18, to increase the first-offender fine from $50 to $90. Repeat offenses would increase from $150 to $500. It took effect immediately.

Previously HB2664, the new law permits local law enforcement to keep $20 of the $90 ticket. But for repeat offenses, the agency will get more than 50 percent – $262. The rest of the money will be routed into the state’s general revenue fund and into a fund to educate truckers about the idling rule.

Owner-operator and OOIDA Life Member Allen Will of Neoga, IL, is particularly concerned with the law’s intent to boost fines with lucrative incentives being offered for tickets written.

“It’s going to create a corrupt agency because a corrupt agency has a financial advantage at stake. So that’s what it’s going to produce – a corrupt agency running around writing tickets,” Will told Land Line. “And even if you weren’t idling your truck, it’s your word against theirs. They are going to have the incentive to write a ticket to buffalo you, knowing you aren’t going to come back to town to try and fight it. It’s going to be their word against yours.”

In place since 2007, the idling rule is waived when temperatures are less than 32 degrees or higher than 80 degrees. Truckers are allowed to operate defrosters, heaters, air conditioners, or other equipment necessary “to prevent a safety or health emergency.”

A separate provision in current law addresses truckers who many times are forced to wait for extended amounts of time to conduct business. Illinois law specifies that while waiting to weigh, load or unload cargo or freight, truckers are limited to idling for no more than 30 minutes per hour, “unless they are in a line of vehicles that regularly and periodically moves forward.”

To view other legislative activities of interest for Illinois in 2009, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

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