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Reckless Driving Complaint

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Reckless Driving Complaint

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
August 12, 2007


There is a driver on the Tollway last week who is in for a big surprise one day soon. He'll be opening his mail and finding greetings to appear in court on a reckless driving charge.

Last Tuesday I was driving west on the Tollway from Schaumburg, poking along at my usual 55MPH in the right-hand lane. As I watched a car coming up very fast behind me, I wondered at just what point he was going to slow down, since there was heavy traffic in the center lane and no way for him to move over one lane to the left.

Well, surprise, surprise. He didn’t. Instead, he maintained a speed that I estimated at 80MPH (in the 55MPH zone) and he just drove off onto the right shoulder, passed me on the right and pulled back into the roadway.

I thought he might rear-end me and was preparing to mash down on the gas, not that my seven-year-old Beetle has all that much get-up-and-go. The driver displayed utter and wanton disregard for my safety and never slowed down as he came up behind me.

I got a good look at his face as he passed me on the right. At least, he didn’t have those heavily-tinted front side windows. As he went by, I read off his license plate number into a pocket dictator that I keep in the car.

I called the Illinois State Police, whose number I have programmed in my cell phone. Because of the number of rings, I could tell that the dispatcher was busy. She did take his license plate number and vehicle description and said she would put it out on the radio to the troopers.

I had my fingers crossed (it’s hard to drive that way) that a trooper would nab him. I would have stopped, if I had seen the car stopped by a trooper.

On Thursday morning I met with a trooper and filed a complaint. The next step is for the Cook County State’s Attorney to decide whether it’s worth their time to prosecute. If they take the case, then they’ll put together a photo line-up, and I’ll pick him out. I am willing to go to court. There are a lot of violations on the Tollway that get my goat, but this is one of the most serious.

Unfortunately, the Illinois State Police is undermanned and there are few patrol cars on the Tollway or other roads, unless the Special Enforcement Team (SET) is in action.

Of course, if our legislators, in their infinite wisdom, would permit police to use PhotoRadar, then the camera/computer would do the work and issue tickets to violators like that guy.

Hey, I know the biggest problem with PhotoRadar. It would catch too many legislators beating down the highway to Springfield or heading home from a session. (It won't get the Governor, though; he spends $5,800 to fly from Chicago to Springfield. No wonder there isn't any money for the RTA.) Why, gee, don’t we all know that they obey the speed limits? After all, they are sworn to obey the laws of the State they serve, or are they?

Does anyone know what the Oath of Office is for a state legislator?

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