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New Chicago Party Bus Safety Measures

Unlike the school buses that you may remember, many people have begun enjoying the benefits of a party bus. If you’re heading to Six Flags or a Cubs game, you and your family or friends can rent a vehicle that will bring you there with all of the accommodations you could dream of. Many of these vehicles have large televisions with stereo systems. Modern interiors that can include fun light systems and provide you will fully stocked bars. And of course, you get the benefit of a chauffeur.

However, Chicago has doubled down on plans to increase enforcement of these popular vehicles. Recent incidents have caused the city and potentially the State of Illinois to consider more strict regulations. For example, a man on a chartered coach bus shot and killed three fellow passengers with a rifle while the bus was traveling in Rockford.

What is a Party Bus?

Many local limo and car rental companies have begun party bus services. If you and a group of people want to travel in Chicago or the Chicago suburbs, these companies provide you a service that would resemble a private car. But with the luxury and space for your entire group. Everyone can relax while driving to a entertainment hot spot, like Arlington Park, without the stress of parking or traffic, and just have fun.

However, many party buses ran without a license.

New Chicago Regulations on Party Buses

Currently, all chartered vehicles with more than 15 riders must

  • inform passengers of prohibited behaviors,
  • post signage on vehicles to prove their registration and,
  • put a security guard and camera on vehicles where alcohol is brought inside or that stops at a venue serving alcohol.

Additionally, the city created a partnership with Secretary of State Jesse White’s office. It allows city inspectors to look up VIN numbers, vehicle plates, moving violations and driver’s licenses immediately during a stop.

Bus, trolley and limousine operators say that a requirement for security guards and cameras on board may drive away customers. Unfortunately, these regulations became important due to rowdy activities from some groups who have utilized party buses. Since the ordinance went into effect last June, police have made 11 weapons or drug-related arrests involving party buses, issued 260 tickets to 37 companies, sent 36 cease and desist orders and levied $130,650 in fines, according to the city. The city has also pushed that the state considers similar laws because many party bus operators exist outside of Chicago.

But remember, other groups use the service. Senior citizens going to the opera, students going to museums, and conventioneers taking customers out to dinner love these party buses. If you or your family decide to rent a party bus, remember that these new regulations exist. Pay attention to the licensing of your party bus and have a lot of safe fun!

 

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Ronald F. Wittmeyer, Jr. practices plaintiffs' personal injury law at his office in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

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