Illinois law requires that drivers use traffic lanes in a particular manner. The portion of Illinois law that governs use of lanes on the road is 625 ILCS 5/11-709, which provides as follows:
Driving on roadways laned for traffic. Whenever any roadway has been divided into 2 or more clearly marked lanes for traffic the following rules in addition to all others consistent herewith shall apply.
(a) A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety.
(b) Upon a roadway which is divided into 3 lanes and provides for two-way movement of traffic, a vehicle shall not be driven in the center lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle traveling in the same direction when such center lane is clear of traffic within a safe distance, or in preparation for making a left turn or where such center lane is at the time allocated exclusively to traffic moving in the same direction that the vehicle is proceeding and such allocation is designated by official traffic control devices.
(c) Official traffic control devices may be erected directing specific traffic to use a designated lane or designating those lanes to be used by traffic moving in a particular direction regardless of the center of the roadway and drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of every such device. On multi-lane controlled access highways with 3 or more lanes in one direction or on any multi-laned highway with 2 or more lanes in one direction, the Department may designate lanes of traffic to be used by different types of motor vehicles. Drivers must obey lane designation signing except when it is necessary to use a different lane to make a turning maneuver.
(d) Official traffic control devices may be installed prohibiting the changing of lanes on sections of roadway and drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of every such device.
Improper lane usage in Illinois is a petty offense, meaning that is punishable by a fine. However, the ramifications of improper lane usage in Illinois can be much more significant for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, improper lane usage is often the basis that an Illinois police officer or state trooper will use to justify stopping a car to investigate a potential DUI or drug case. Thus, the issue as to whether a person was engaging in improper lane usage can be vital in defending against other charges that were brought after the car was pulled over for improper lane usage.
Secondly, a person’s driving history can greatly affect their insurance rates, and even lead to a suspension or revocation of their driver’s license. Given how important it is for a person to be able to drive, and obtain affordable insurance, traffic tickets are something to take seriously.