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August 4, 2004

Governor Blagojevich signs law improving passenger safety
Allows state oversight of passenger vans carrying between 9-15 passengers

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed into law a measure aimed at bringing more safety and accountability to companies providing passenger service in vans designed to carry between 9-15 passengers. Prior to the Governor’s action today the Illinois Department of Transportation had no authority to inspect these vehicles for maintenance and safety, even though they are run as commercial vehicles.
“This was a loophole in the law, an oversight, that allowed these companies to operate these vans without regulations ensuring their passengers safety,” said Governor Blagojevich.  “Studies have shown these vans are more likely to be involved in a rollover accident, placing their customers at a higher risk of injury or even death.”
“There have been too many tragic accidents on Illinois roadways involving passenger vans.  That’s why I thought is was extremely important to pass a law giving the Illinois Department of Transportation more authority to inspect these vehicles,” said Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago).  “This legislation will ensure that children and adults are safe when traveling in passenger vans.”
Sponsored by Rep. Davis and Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Lake  Forest), House Bill 4833 amends existing state law to include these passenger-carrying vehicles by classifying them as commercial motor vehicles. The change in law applies to passenger vans that are designed to carry between 9-15 persons, which are being driven a distance greater than 75 miles and charging customers for their service. Under the law signed by Governor Blagojevich today, these vehicles will be inspected for maintenance and safety requirements and drivers would be required to meet specific qualifications and hours of service. Currently, there are no minimum requirements for drivers.
“These vans are frequently used as shuttles to and from airports, to take family members to visit family members in corrections facilities, and there have been several tragic accidents in recent years, yet the Department had no legal authority over regulating them,” said Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Tim Martin.  “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that the risk for rollover in these vans increases greatly with 10 or more passengers, we need to be able to work with the companies to make sure their equipment is up to date and their drivers receive the appropriate training.”
The law is effective immediately.


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