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City of Rockford v. Floyd

DECEMBER 30, 1968.




Appeal from the Circuit Court of Winnebago County, Seventeenth Judicial Circuit; the Hon. RALPH H. HAEN, Judge, presiding. Reversed and remanded in part, affirmed in part.


Rehearing denied February 7, 1969.

The City has appealed from judgments dismissing charges brought against the defendant under two ordinances of the City of Rockford. The defendant was issued an Illinois Uniform Traffic Ticket and Complaint charging him with the offense under local ordinance of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor. He was similarly charged with violation of the local ordinance which prohibited the operation of a motor vehicle in a careless manner. Pursuant to motion, the court below held that both ordinances were invalid as in conflict with the State Statutes regulating traffic, and dismissed the charges.

We are called upon to decide the validity of the ordinances, *fn1 in the light of the State Statutes. *fn2

The City argues that police regulations of a municipality may differ from those of the State upon the same subject if they are not inconsistent; and that whereas here the general policy is the same as to both the ordinance and the State Statute, but the ordinance attaches a lesser penalty for its violation, there is no repugnancy. The defendant urges that the Uniform Act Regulating Traffic on Highways has preempted the field leaving the City without authority to enact ordinances relating to driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or careless driving.

[1-3] It is well settled that the powers of a municipality over its streets and highways are those delegated to it by the State; and that the State may assume complete control of the regulation of streets and highways and may deprive the municipalities of any power or authority with respect thereto. Ayres v. City of Chicago, 239 Ill. 237, 245, 87 N.E. 1073 (1909). The grant of authority to municipalities relating to the control of streets and of traffic thereon is expressly subject to the Uniform Act Regulating Traffic on Highways (Ill Rev Stats 1965, c 24, §§ 11-80-1, 11-80-20). Whether the present Uniform Act Regulating Traffic has preempted the field of regulation as to driving while intoxicated and as to reckless driving so that no different regulation of these subjects is within the power of a municipality requires an interpretation of the Act with a view to its declared purposes and against the backdrop of prior legislation on the same subject.

The initial regulation of motor vehicles was by Act of 1907. The title of the 1907 law included the words "providing for . . . uniform rules regulating the use and speed thereof. . . ." The Illinois Supreme Court in Ayres v. City of Chicago (supra) stated that with reference to the Act of 1907 (page 245):

"The legislature has by the Motor Vehicle Act taken the subject of the regulation of the speed and operation of automobiles out of the hands of local authorities and passed the Motor Vehicle law as a general, uniform regulation, applicable alike to all municipalities of the State. The effect of this law manifestly is to abrogate all municipal ordinances designed to regulate the use of motor vehicles passed prior to the time such law went into force and to deprive such municipalities of the power to pass such regulating ordinances in the future. The necessity for such uniform law was a matter for legislative determination, with which the courts have nothing to do. Clearly, the purpose of the legislature was to pass a new and complete law designed to take the place of all municipal ordinances or rules regulating the equipment and operation of motor vehicles."

In Ayres the Court had before it section 13 of the Act of 1907 which in substance provided that an owner would not be required to obtain any other license or permit to use the vehicle except that issued by the Secretary of State, nor be required to comply with other provisions or conditions as to the use of said motor vehicles except as provided in the Act. The majority of the Court, however, held that a "Wheel Tax" ordinance passed by the City of Chicago was valid as a proper exercise of the taxing power of the City and that it was not in conflict with the Uniform Act because it did not purport to regulate the manner of operating the vehicle or equipping it. By Act of 1911 the following provision was added to the 1907 Act:

"That nothing in this Act contained shall be construed as affecting (a) the power of municipal corporations to make and enforce ordinances, rules and regulations affecting motor trucks and motor-driven commercial vehicles and motor vehicles which are used within their limits for public hire, or for making and enforcing reasonable traffic and other regulations except as to rates of speed not inconsistent with the provisions hereof."

In People v. Sargent, 254 Ill. 514, 517, 98 N.E. 959 (1912), the Court stated:

"A careful reading of the act of 1911 will show that the legislative intent is the same as expressed above in respect to the act of 1907. The manifest purpose of the legislature was to bring the whole subject of regulating the use of motor vehicles under the control of the State."

However, in City of Chicago v. Walden W. Shaw Livery Co., 258 Ill. 409, 416, 101 N.E. 588 (1913), the Court pointed out that the only question presented in the Sargent case was whether the Act was constitutional, and a decision of that question did not involve the question of the power of municipalities to make and enforce such reasonable regulations relating to motor vehicles as are not inconsistent with the regulations contained in said Act. The Court then held that the effect of the added proviso of the Act of 1911 qualified the general statements in both the Ayres case and the Sargent case, and it upheld the ordinance of the City of Chicago which prohibited the use of any motor vehicle in such manner as to permit the escape of any noxious smoke, etc. as not in conflict with the Motor Vehicle Act of 1911.

In Johnson v. Pendergast, 308 Ill. 255, 262, 139 N.E. 407 (1923), the Supreme Court inferentially recognized that an ordinance of the City of Rockford providing that drivers in starting to turn from a standstill should give a signal in a certain way was to be given effect even though the 1911 Act covered that particular subject matter. The same result was reached directly in Pettit v. ...

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