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Before the ITEA began in late 2009, several future members of the ITEA had been challenged in court over the methodology in which they collected bail for overweight on registration citations.  Until this time, when citing overweight on registration, police officers had been instructed to collect the maximum fine as bail, just like an overweight from Chapter 15 of the Illinois Vehicle Code (gross, axle, etc).  A clever attorney had done his research and found this (and other) procedures were incorrect per the Supreme Court Rules and began making motions to dismiss the citations.  As eyes turned to the police officers as to where they came up with this system, they could only put their hands in the air and say “that is the way we were taught”.  A problem had been identified, one of many that were catalysts to launch the ITEA.

Once the ITEA officially began, it was time to publicly expose the problem in order to get on the path to correct it.  The Illinois Courts were contacted to help interpret the Rules and see if the Rules provided for this method.  Law enforcement officials, private attorneys, and local prosecutors were also asked to weigh in, and no one could substantiate the practice.  While most everyone agreed the method of instruction was incorrect, the ITEA believed that the Rules should indeed allow the practice.  The only mechanism to collect the fines was to make the driver come to court, which was a major inconvenience for truckers who would rather pay the fines up-front, particularly those from out-of-state.

In order to correct the problem, the ITEA petitioned the Article V Committee of the Illinois Supreme Court in the summer of 2010 to make the change.  The Article V committee agreed to the Rule change in June 2011.  The Conference of Chief Judges agreed to it in July 2011.  On December 7th, 2011, the Supreme Court itself ratified the new rule, effective immediately.

The ITEA is proud of this effort and Rule change.  Other similar issues were addressed by the ITEA, in partnership with several state agencies, that eventually became Public Act 97-0201,  It is a win-win for enforcement and the trucking industry alike by streamlining the bail process.  It is understood the faulty instruction was not malicious, but the misinterpretations of a few does not provide a basis to continually abrogate the plain reading of the law by many.  Regardless of the amount of time a “past practice” has been employed without challenge, it is never an excuse to continue to do things wrong and rest on inaction.  When problems are identified, they need to be exposed and corrected.  Those entrusted with leadership authority need to recognize this and be spurred to action.  This is exactly what the ITEA plans to keep doing.

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