Friday, January 02, 2009
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New law cracking down on drunk drivers in effect

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[January 02, 2009]  First-time DUI offenders will face tougher restrictions before being allowed behind the wheel.

RestaurantA new law signifies that beginning at midnight on Jan. 1, 2009, anyone arrested for DUI will be required to install a breath alcohol ignition interlock device, or BAIID, if they want driving relief during the length of their driver's license suspension. In addition, the new law requires the person to submit a breath test every time they wish to start their vehicle and also at periodic intervals after their vehicle has been started.

If the interlock device registers a blood alcohol concentration above a pre-set level, the vehicle does not start. In addition, the device keeps a record of each attempt to start the vehicle and the corresponding blood alcohol level. These records will be monitored by the Illinois secretary of state's office, and the DUI offender will be subject to further penalties if he or she continues to attempt to drive under the influence.


"This is a new and innovative approach to deal with a very serious traffic safety issue," said Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. "There are too many people killed and injured each year by drunk drivers. This law uses technology to target DUI offenders in an effort to make our roads safer, while posing no inconvenience to the vast majority of Illinoisans who are safe and responsible drivers. Most importantly, this law will save lives."



"We hope this new approach will encourage motorists to think twice before getting behind the wheel intoxicated," said Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Milton R. Sees. "When motorists make the decision to drive drunk, they are putting innocent lives in danger, and we will not tolerate that behavior on Illinois roadways."

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Nearly every state has a form of BAIID law, with some states mandating use of the device for offenders and others leaving it to the discretion of a judge. Illinois is one of just six states mandating BAIID use by first-time offenders.  However, Illinois is the largest state to mandate the BAIID law.

"The Illinois State Police and law enforcement agencies throughout the state are committed to keeping impaired drivers off our roadways," said Illinois State Police Director Larry G. Trent. "With the implementation of the breath alcohol ignition interlock device program, first-time offenders will be less likely to become repeat offenders. We are hopeful that the use of this technology will lead to a reduction in crashes and fatalities resulting from DUIs."

[Text from file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information; LDN staff]

Related AP article


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