Watch CBS News

Illinois law would crack down on drivers idling in arrival lanes at O'Hare

Illinois law would raise fines for failing to follow rules for O'Hare pickups
Illinois law would raise fines for failing to follow rules for O'Hare pickups 02:05

CHICAGO (CBS) -- When timing out an airport pickup, everyone has their own way of doing it.

But if a driver's way includes throwing on hazard lights on the side of the road to wait for a passenger's arrival, there are likely new fines coming for that driver at O'Hare International Airport.

The curbside pickup is as much part of the airport experience as seatbacks and tray tables. When it's not an Uber or a cab, it's a loved one trying to time out when to make the final leg to the arrival area at O'Hare.

Many view the window of time during which they wait for a traveler as an invitation to break the law—and idle on the side of the terminal access road.

"One guy does it, the next guy thinks it's OK," said Illinois state Rep. Brad Stephens (R-Norridge).

Stephens got quick bipartisan support for his O'Hare Driver Safety Act (HB5408), which calls for drivers to not stop their "…vehicle on a shoulder of a highway including the highway entrance and exit ramps or on the side of a roadway within a 2-mile radius surrounding O'Hare."

"This is crazy. Somebody's going to get hurt," Stephens said, "and it's really all about the safety. This is not about making it a revenue producer."

Illinois law would raise fines for illegal passenger pickups at O'Hare 02:17

But indeed it will be a revenue producer.

With the help of the Illinois State Police and the Illinois Toll Highway Authority, the plan calls for the installation of a network of cameras to capture the license plates of drivers breaking the law by idling on a highway or onramp—then sending them $100 fines.

There are exceptions for disabled vehicles on the side of the highway.

"This is the right time for this," said Stephens.

And in the end, it's about time—time that "picker-uppers" want to shave from the pickup by skipping the cellphone lots located about a mile from the terminal.

Meanwhile, in the time since COVID calmed, more air travelers mean more airport pickups—and more people throwing on their hazard lights.

"Counted 51 cars from getting off at 294, circling around up to the toll booth," said Stephens. "We're trying to change some behavior, and trying to make sure that our roadways are safe."

HB5408 has passed the Illinois state House and Senate, and Gov. JB Pritzker is expected to sign it. 

Once that happens, installation of the cameras along the arrivals road at 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.