FAQ's

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If I receive a traffic citation, what are my options on how to handle it?

If you received a court diversion envelope, follow the instructions on the envelope and mail it to the Court Clerk.

If there is a court date listed on the citation, you are required to appear on the date and time specified. If you posted a license, or bond card, it will be returned by mail if you chose option A or B on the diversion envelope. If you chose option “C”, or are given a court date, your license will be returned in court.

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What can I do if I have lost my copy of the traffic citation?

If you have lost your copy of the traffic citation you will need to contact the Cook County Traffic Clerk of the Court at: 5600 Old Orchard Rd. Skokie, Il. (847)470.7250

I have a problem with people speeding in my neighborhood, what can I do about it?

Complaints of speeding, stop sign violations or any other traffic concern can be reported to the Traffic / Motor Unit who will follow up on your complaint. They can be contacted at: Evanston Police Traffic Unit 1454 Elmwood Evanston, IL. 60201 (847)866.5064

I saw an illuminated speed sign in another neighborhood the other day. How can I get that in my neighborhood?

speed_trailerThe traffic speed sign is primarily used in conjunction with ongoing traffic complaints. However, when complaints are done, it is possible to request that the sign be placed in your neighborhood for a day to monitor traffic.

The Evanston Police Department Traffic Unit will address neighborhood traffic complaints to assist residents in improving the quality of life in neighborhoods with respect to traffic safety. Primary approaches used to accomplish this goal are Police visibility, education, and traffic enforcement. This enforcement is primarily accomplished by one of the Traffic Unit Officers being assigned to the neighborhood to write citations for traffic violations.

The Speed Monitoring Awareness Radar Trailer (S.M.A.R.T.) is also being used in areas where citizen complaints are high due to traffic problems regarding speeding or reckless driving. If you have traffic related problem in your neighborhood, call (847)866-2922 and speak with the staff in the traffic engineer's office.

The police department would also enjoy hearing about any good things the officers are doing out in the field. If you use the E-mail please leave a name, phone number, and address so the complaint, or praise, can be followed up by the traffic unit.

How does the illuminated speed sign work?

The traffic speed sign is sent out daily to different locations within the city to alert motorists and to educate them on the speed limit posted on the road that they are traveling upon. It is primarily used in conjunction with traffic complaints.

What are the top traffic violations that cause traffic crashes?

  1. Following Too Closely
  2. Unlawful Speed
  3. D.U.I.
  4. Violation of Right of Way
  5. Violation of Traffic Control Devices (Failed to stop at stop sign, red light)

What do I do if I am involved in a traffic crash?

First and foremost, check on injuries. If there are injuries dial 911 so as to activate emergency medical personnel and local law enforcement.

  1. If there are no injuries, move vehicles from the roadway so as to allow other motorists to continue on. Illinois State Statutes state that each driver shall make every reasonable effort to remove the vehicle from the traffic way so as not to obstruct traffic.
  2. Be prepared to display your driver's license, current vehicle registration and current proof of insurance to either law enforcement personnel or to the other driver if law enforcement is not called to the scene.

Am I required to contact Law Enforcement if I am involved in a traffic crash?

Illinois law requires that a person must notify local law enforcement immediately if they are involved in a traffic crash that involves injury, death or damage to any vehicle or property totaling at least $500.00.

How can I obtain a copy of a traffic crash report?

You can obtain a copy of traffic crash from the Evanston Police Department records section 1454 Elmwood Evanston, IL. 60201

Their hours of service are Monday - Friday 8:30 am - 5:00 pm. The fee for a copy of your report is $5.00

What are the requirements for motorists when approaching a police or medical vehicle that has their emergency lights activated on the side of the road?

Effective June 16, 2003 the "Scott’s Law" went into effect. Scott’s Law increases the penalties for drivers who fail to yield to emergency vehicles or cause accidents or injury to public safety or service personnel at roadside emergency scenes. Offenders can expect to be fined up to $10,000 and have their driver’s license suspended for up to two years. Illinois State Police Director Sam W. Nolen said, "Each day, law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency response personnel, and highway workers encounter situations which place their lives in jeopardy while protecting the citizens of Illinois. This legislation helps to ensure that they can perform those duties out of harm’s way."

Penalties for violating Scott’s Law include: a fine of not more than $10,000 suspension of driving privileges for a period of up to a year but not less than 90 days for damaging another person’s property suspension of driving privileges for a period of not less than180 days but no more than two years for injuring another person a two-year suspension of driving privileges for causing the death of another person.

The Evanston Police Department encourages motorists to follow these precautions when approaching an emergency vehicle with its lights activated:

  • Slow down and proceed with caution.
  • Yield the right-of-way by changing into a lane not immediately adjacent to the emergency vehicle.
  • Be prepared to pull over to the right-hand side of the roadway and stop if directed to do so.
  • Be watchful of the movement of emergency personnel and equipment.

The legislation applies to all vehicles displaying flashing lights, including highway maintenance vehicles.

How can I contest a parking ticket or administrative citation?

You can contest a parking citation in two ways. First, you can go to the Civic Center, 2100 Ridge, room 2700, and fill out a form to request to contest the ticket. Second, you can contest the citation online

What can I do about cars and trucks parked on my street that have not been moved in a long time?

According to the Evanston Municipal Code, vehicles cannot be left on a public street for more than seven days before being moved. Complaints regarding these vehicles can be made by submitting an Abandoned Vehicle service request. An officer will check the vehicle to determine if it has been abandoned and make every effort to contact the registered owner to explain parking laws and city ordinances.

If the vehicle is in violation of the ordinance and the officer is unable to contact the registered owner, the vehicle will be tagged for tow in seven days. If you have concerns about large trucks parked on your street you should again call the police department. Large trucks have specific streets that they are prohibited from parking on. If the officer feels the truck is in violation, the truck will be cited.

What is distracted driving?

Distraction occurs any time you take your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, and your mind off your primary task: driving safely. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing. Distracted driving includes texting, using the cell/smart phone, eating/drinking, talking, grooming, reading, using GPS, watching videos and adjusting radio/cd/MP3 players.

Why is texting while driving so dangerous?

Texting is the most alarming distraction because it involves manual, visual, and cognitive distraction simultaneously. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of just over an entire football field, blindfolded. It's extraordinarily dangerous.

Is the use of a hand-held cell phone while driving illegal in the City of Evanston?

Yes.  As of January 2010 Evanston has had an ordinance (10-3-13b) banning the use of hand-held cell phones while driving.  As of January 2014 the State of Illinois enacted a law (625ICLS5/12-610.2) that bans the use of electronic communication devices while driving.  Electronic communication devices include hand-held wireless telephones, hand-held personal assistants, or a portable/mobile computer.