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Drivers take hit in wallet with tax, fine, fee hikes

More coming Jan. 1

Moving Violations fines will be going up.
Moving Violations fines will be going up.

Illinois drivers took a hit in the pocketbook Monday when state fines, fees, and taxes increased.

Thanks to the state’s new $45 billion capital infrastructure plan, motor fuel tax increased by 19 cents per gallon on July 1. The increase is supposed to help fund $33 billion on transportation projects such as road and bridge repairs and public transit.

The motor fuel tax on regular gasoline and diesel fuel both increase to 38 cents, up from 19 cents

In addition, those who buy diesel fuel pay an additional tax, “for the privilege of operating motor vehicles which use diesel fuel.”

That additional fee rose to 7.5 cents, up from 2.5 cents, bringing the total tax on diesel fuel to 45.5 cents per gallon.

Going forward, the motor fuel tax will increase annually by the consumer price index, which is usually close to two percent, but would be capped at a one cent per-year increase.

New legislation also mandated that a minor traffic ticket will result in a $164 fine.

A minor traffic offense is any moving violation that doesn’t require a driver to appear in court.

It can be anything from not using a seat belt to speeding, 19 mph over the speed limit.

Previously, speeding tickets varied in cost. Violations for speeding 1 to 20 mph over the limit used to cost drivers $120 if they didn’t fight it in court or ask for supervision. The cost jumped to $140 if the speeding was 21 to 25 mph.

Once the new law went into effect, both now cost $164. The cost goes up to a minimum of $251 for those challenging a ticket in court or asking for supervision.

Tickets for using an electronic communication device while driving also now costs $164, increasing the fine by $44, and are now considered moving violations.

This differs from the previous law which didn’t ticket first-time offense as moving violations.

Drivers issued three or more texting while driving tickets within a year could also face a suspended license.

That means no GPS, no texting or thumbing through emails, even if the driver is using a phone at a stop sign or red light.

The only time it won’t be a violation is if the driver is using the device while parked on a shoulder or while calling for emergency services.

Seat belt violations, now a $55 fine, have also increased to $164.

The biggest cost jumps are for violations for no insurance and Scott’s Law tickets.

Driving without insurance previously landed drivers a minimum $300 ticket, but that’s more than doubled to $625, and Scott’s Law violations have a similar increase to at least $500.

Topping it off, vehicle title fees also increased on July 1.

According to a press release from Secretary of State Jesse White, a certificate of title for most vehicles went from $95 to $150. Increases for motor homes, mini motor homes, and van campers increased from $95 to $250.

Salvage titles increased from $4 to $20 and junk titles from no charge to $10, while duplicate or corrected titles actually decreased from $95 to $50.

“Additional changes impacting vehicle registration fees will take effect Jan. 1, 2020,” White’s press release read.

That includes vehicle license stickers which are expected to increase $50 per year.