CTA BACKS BILL THAT WOULD PROHIBIT TRANSIT EMPLOYEES FROM USING JUDICIAL DRIVING PERMITS

March 5, 2001
CTA President Frank Kruesi held a joint press conference today with Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, Senator Kathleen Parker (R-29th Northbrook), and Senator Robert Molaro (D-12th -Chicago) to announce the introduction of Senate Bill 930, which would prevent public transit agency employees from acquiring Judicial Driving Permits (JDPs) in order to operate agency vehicles. The bill is sponsored by Senators Parker, Molaro and Sen. Walter Dudycz (R-7th, Chicago).

Under current law, individuals whose driver's licenses are suspended or revoked may petition the court for a JDP. JDPs allow the holders to continue to operate vehicles for specific non-recreational uses, including but not limited to medical necessities and work-related or educational purposes.

Said CTA President Frank Kruesi, ?I whole-heartedly back this effort to strengthen the state's motor vehicle code. As the nation's second largest public transit agency, we provide 1.5 million rides each day. When you are transporting that many people every day, safety has to be of paramount importance. This bill will greatly help our efforts to operate safely and efficiently."

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White said, "We commend the CTA for taking the initiative and helping ensure the passengers of the CTA have the safest drivers possible."

More than 5,600 CTA employees are required to maintain valid commercial driver's licenses in order to perform their duties. These include but are not limited to: bus operators, repairmen, servicers, bus and truck mechanics, bus service supervisors, instructors, and employees who operate certain non-revenue vehicles, such as trucks.

The CTA, in cooperation with the Secretary of State's Office, conducts monthly driver's license checks to verify the validity of its employees? commercial driver's licenses. The CTA began the checks this fall after a review by the agency's Inspector General determined that some bus operators were driving even though their licenses had been suspended or revoked.

"The monthly checks that we are conducting in cooperation with Secretary White's office have been a valuable enforcement tool for us. But the JDP issue is still a problem that has to be addressed," said Kruesi. ?I believe that operating public transit vehicles that transport large numbers of people is not an appropriate use of judicial driving permits and have therefore prohibited their use at the CTA. And I commend Senators Parker, Molaro and Dudycz for introducing legislation that supports this effort and will eliminate any questions over the intended purposes of JDPs."

The proposed legislation has the concurrence of the Regional Transportation Authority, the Illinois Public Transportation Association, Pace and the Illinois Secretary of State.

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