As the July 4th weekend – one of the busiest travel weekends of the year – approaches, our Chicago personal injury attorneys would like to remind you to buckle up. Not only is buckling up the safest choice, it is now the law – regardless of whether you are a passenger in the front or back of a motor vehicle.

“Back seat passengers will now be required to wear seat belts in Illinois under a measure Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law today,” reports the Chicago Tribune.

The law is just in time to affect passengers traveling for the busy Fourth of July holiday weekend. If a police officer sees any passenger traveling in a motor vehicle without a seatbelt this – or any other – weekend, he or she will have the right to stop the vehicle and fine the driver accordingly. Fines will start at $25.

Additionally, “the governor also signed a law making it illegal for passengers to ride in trailers, wagons and other vehicles while they are being towed on highways. Farm-related activities and parades are exempt.”

Chicago personal injury attorneys often see the result of traveling in a motor vehicle without a seatbelt, and caution you to buckle up at all times. In addition, our Chicago personal injury lawyer reminds you to use the following safety tips to stay safe on the road this holiday weekend and throughout the summer:

  • Do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Make sure you do not operate a motor vehicle when you are too tired to do so.
  • When traveling long distances, take breaks at rest areas often. Even if you just get out and stretch your legs, it breaks up the monotony of the drive – and makes you drive more safely.
  • Do not use your cell phone or smart phone while operating a motor vehicle. If you must make a phone call or send an electronic message, pull over. 
  • Be aware of other motorists, particularly motorcyclists who easily get lost in blind spots. 
  • Avoid any “distracted driving” behavior, including eating or drinking, applying makeup or reading while driving. Anything that takes your eyes off the road, even for a split second, is a hazard. 

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers hope you have a safe and happy Fourth of July holiday.