Saturday, August 21, 2010

2010 Rules of the Road at the DMV

Yesterday I picked up a copy of the 2010 Illinois Rules of the Road. The Secretary of State continues to "simplify" the explanations of many provisions - I call it "dumbing down" the content. Hence, the following letter I have sent to Secretary of State Jesse White...

"Thank you for again including the year-of-issue on the cover of the Rules of the Road.

"May I suggest returning the telephone number for your office to the rear cover? In the past, it was very helpful to find 800/252-8980 prominently displayed on the outside back cover. I know the number, but many don't.

"I urge you not to make the explanations too general or so general that the purpose of the law is unclear. Please don't dumb them down too far. For example, regarding approaching emergency vehicles: Page 27: There is an important error in Paragraph 2 of Emergency Vehicles, where it reads "...vehicle using audible and visual signals." This should read "and/or", because police cars are not required to use audible signals at all times when visual signals are in use.

"The paragraph is further unclear by stating "...Illinois law requires motorists to immediately pull to the right side of the road..." Many will understand this as "...pull (over) to the right side of the road (and stop)". The statute itself is perfectly clear; it's the explanation in the Rules of the Road that is not clear. Nothing is gained by dragging it out in the Rules of the Road. A driver is required to stop, only if necessary to permit the emergency vehicle to pass safely.

"The left diagram at the bottom of Page 82 shows a dangerous, but legal, maneuver; i.e, completing a pass after the beginning of a no-passing zone. The law needs to be changed to require that a pass be completed before the beginning of a no-passing zone. In your left bottom diagram, the passing car is legally re-entering the right lane but at the crest of a hill, where a head-on collision could easily have occurred.

"The right diagram at the bottom of Page 82 incorrectly shows the end of a no-passing zone, where the sight distance would have required the continuation of the no-passing zone.

"Because the Rules of the Road manual is designed for drivers, I would move the Investment Fraud warning to an inside one-half page and return use of the outside back cover to important driving tips, such as

- obey posted speed limits;
- don't tailgate;
- don't drink and drive;
- display front license plates, as required.

"I hope these errors will be corrected before the next edition is published."

When you spot errors in the Rules of the Road, email them to

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