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When police violate traffic laws

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

When police violate traffic laws

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
July 4, 2009

What should a citizen do, when he sees a police officer roll through a stop sign? Or drive on the wrong side of the road when he is reading his in-car computer? Or fail to signal a turn continually within 100' from an in-town intersection? Or fail to come to a complete stop when exiting from the police department employee parking lot through the driveway onto Lake Avenue or onto Fremont Street by Dick Tracy Park?

Should he write himself a ticket?

If another officer observes such a traffic violation, should he stop his fellow officer and write him a ticket? (Okay, you can stop laughing now.)

Should he contact the shift sergeant and register a formal traffic complaint and be willing to go to court and testify to the violation?

Officers of the Woodstock Police Department write many legitimate tickets. When a driver blasts down the center lane (two-way, left-turn lane) on Route 47 to pass a long line of cars stopped for a red light, that's worth a ticket.

When a driver speeds 10-15-20MPH over the limit? That's worth a ticket.
Tailgating? A ticket.
Aggressive driving? A ticket.
Passing on the shoulder through an intersection? A ticket.
Running a red light? A ticket

How about when a driver rolls up to a stop sign at a T-intersection, no cross-traffic, no pedestrians, but fails to signal a turn for the required 100 feet while approaching the stop sign?

Should he get a ticket for that or a written Warning? Is that a violation that should cost the driver $75.00-125.00?

In many jurisdictions, an officer would make a traffic stop, check the driver's license and insurance, and point out that a signal is required; then he would issue a verbal or written warning and send the driver on his way.

What happens in Woodstock?

What has been your experience, when you have been stopped in Woodstock? Did you get a ticket? Or did you get a warning? Vote in this week's survey.

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