HB 2448, ladies and gentelmen
Here’s something you may not know. The Illinois state legislature is considering a bill that would require Illinois drivers to keep their headlights turned on all the time, even in broad daylight.
Sponsored by Rep. Robert Pritchard (R-Hinckley), House Bill 2448 was narrowly approved 5-4 by the Illinois Transportation Committee back in March. It’s now in the hands of the full House, which has amended the bill twice to date.
“This is an issue where too many people are already violating the law that says you’re supposed to have your headlights on when visibility is limited,” Pritchard told the State Journal-Register shortly after the ITC vote. “People are violating that. You can see that every day when you’re driving on the open road. So that was the genesis for which I bring forward this idea, that if you are visible, other people can avoid you.”
Here’s the bill’s original synopsis:
Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Provides that every motor vehicle of the first division or motor vehicle of the second division weighing no more than 8,000 pounds shall at all times exhibit: (1) daytime running lights; or (2) at least 2 lighted head lamps, with at least one on each side of the front of the vehicle, showing white lights, including those emitted by high intensity discharge lamps or lights of a yellow or amber tint. Provides that a violation of the provision is a business offense punishable by a fine of $100. Defines “daytime running lights.”
Good idea or bad idea?
On its face, the proposal seems like a proactive safety measure, despite scrutiny from other House members, including Chicago Rep. Marcus Evans Jr. who says keeping the lights on would be costly for drivers, citing more dead batteries and a lot more stranded vehicles. And that’s not counting a fine that reaches $100 for not obeying the law.
Broadly, however, HB 2448 is likely to fortify an already staunch law that forces all drivers to turn their headlights on during inclement weather or at the first sign of dusk. The notion that drivers will lose money or face the prospect of a dead battery shouldn’t outweigh the benefits, as Pritchard made clear to the Register.
“Motorcycles are required to have a headlight on all the time for visibility reasons, and a car is no different,” Pritchard said. “So let’s look at in terms of the other person, rather than necessarily you, your car and your battery. It’s so that you don’t get hit and maybe have something a lot worse than a burned-out headlight.”