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Illinois Anti-ICEing law

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ICEing-in-Illinois-via-lanny-hartmannv2-750x438.jpgNot Cool (Image via Lanny Hartmann/PlugInSites.org)
Few places have laws against blocking an EV charging station with a non-electric vehicle. This is called “ICEing” by frustrated EV drivers. Thanks to a call from one of those frustrated drivers to his state representative, Illinois now has a law to fine and tow those ICE cars that block EV charging spots.
Enforceable at Public and Private Parking Areas
Effective January 1, 2016, any non-electric vehicle that is blocking a designated charging station can be towed and the owner fined $75. The penalty will apply on public and private parking areas open to the public.
Editor’s Note: Our thanks to Lanny Hartmann for penning this article for us. Lanny runs PlugInSites.org, a website that delivers news about electric car charging stations in DC, Maryland, Virginia & beyond. We encourage readers in the area to check it out!
Signed by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner
Sony_Approved_eVgo_Chargers_1v3-350x233.jpgIllinois Looks To Keep EV Charging Spots Open For…EVs Only
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed the “Anti-ICEing” legislation (HB-0198) on July 29, 2015 after it passed both houses of the legislature in May.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Robyn Gabel who told Chicago Channel 7 News, “A constituent called our office and was very upset. He said he went to park his electric vehicle in Northbrook in a parking lot where they had a charging station and there were non-electric vehicles parked in the spot. We did some research and we found that, in reality, no, most places do not have a fine for parking non-electric vehicles in electric parking spots. So we developed some legislation and passed it.”
Fines up to $100 by Local Municipalities
The new law will allow local municipalities to impose an even greater fine of up to $100 and says that the quality of the signage is not an excuse if a reasonable person would be made aware by the sign or markings that the space is for electric vehicles only.
“It shall not be a defense to a charge under this Section that the sign or notice posted at the electric vehicle charging station or the designated parking space does not comply with applicable rules, regulations, or local ordinances, if a reasonable person would be made aware by the sign or notice on or near the parking space that the space is reserved for electric vehicles.”
One Person Made a Difference
It’s important to note that an individual EV driver started the ball rolling on this law with just one well-placed phone call. Few jurisdictions in the U.S. have laws to prohibit non-electric cars from parking at EV charging stations however, there are plenty of EV drivers who are frustrated and angry about getting ICEd. The response of Illinois Rep. Robyn Gabel may inspire more EV drivers to contact their elected representatives and ask for similar legislation.
Starting January 1, 2016 people who park non-electric vehicles in spots reserved for an electric vehicle charging station in Illinois will be subject to a minimum $75 fine and get their car towed.
I have learned that in Ontario, Canada it can be enforced through "private property laws" but rarely is. In other words, as a property owner, you can decide who parks where, and you can legally tow those who don't comply. It's not quite the same as for handicapped spots where you are also legally required to enforce compliance.
I can see where the problem will become one of ensuring the stalls are actually marked. If they aren't designated, then I would assume any local bylaw would be essentially useless.

Bringing in any sort of bylaw that actually requires stalls to be designated would create new challenges. Zoning bylaws require a set minimum number of parking stalls per 1000 sq.ft. of business... which varies depending on the actual type of business. Developers always maximize their space for profit, meaning there typically aren't any stalls beyond what is mandated. If that number is, in reality, more than enough for the business, then dedicating a few for EV's wouldn't be a big problem. But if the converse is true, it would be a concern. So City zoning may also have to address the issue.

How stalls are located and marked is still an evolving issue, as we all know. While in Alberta last week, I parked behind a dumpster in a back alley without a turnaround, in order to get a charge from a Sun Country Highway unit (Peavey Mart, High River). When in Medicine Hat, at another Peavey Mart, the charge station was on the front of the building. When I arrived, in desperate need of electrons, a Prius was charging, with no contact information visible. All the adjacent stalls (parked against the front of the building) within reach of the cable were occupied. I left for an hour and when I came back, the unit clicked off while I was pondering my problem. I realized I could now safely unplug the Prius, but I couldn't park close enough to connect. I went inside and spoke to an employee, who came out to reconnoitre the situation. It turned out that the cars were all staff! Before he could get a car moved, the Prius driver returned and I was able to slide in... but it made me realize that dedicating an EV stall is a tough issue when even the staff are quite happy to ICE it.

It's great that the Peavey Marts seem to be installing Sun Country Highway charge stations, but if they aren't accessible they aren't really much use! This is a problem that's likely to get worse before it gets better... since there will be more drivers jockeying for access to the charge stations as time goes on, before laws are likely to be put in place.
Good on Illinois! It does seems strange that they would draft up and pass legislation after a single phone call though. Government typically does not take action without numerous complaints and commissioning several focus groups to study the problem.

This problem is one of education. Once people become aware that EVSEs exist, most will avoid them. However, there will always be a few a-holes that will block charging spots, either to make a point, or due to simple lack of attention. For these few, a modest hit to the pocketbook is good motivation to reduce repeat behavior.

The biggest thing with laws like these is whether or not they are actively enforced. If word gets around that the threat is toothless and you can park in EV spaces without consequence, it will just prolong the problem.
Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of Public Act 099-0172

(c) Any person or local authority owning or operating anypublic or private offstreet parking facility may, after
notifying the police or sheriff's department, remove or cause
to be removed to the nearest garage or other place of safety
any non-electric vehicle parked within an electric vehicle
charging station space designated for use by electric vehicles.

Does that mean any person can call the police/sheriff or does it have to be the owner?
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