The Illinois State Legislature is considering legislation that would allow individuals who have had four DUI convictions to get the driving privileges reinstated. Leading Chicago car accident attorney Howard Ankin understands the reasoning behind the law, but is concerned that it could lead to injuries and fatalities if not implemented properly.
Under current Illinois law, a fourth DUI conviction leads to a lifetime driver’s license suspension. The new proposal would allow four-time offenders to regain their license, but only under a strict set of requirements.
First, the offender would have to wait a minimum of five years after their most recent license suspension before filing for reinstatement. They would also have to undergo alcohol counseling with a verified three years of sobriety. Finally, they would have to have an interlock device in their car forever. An interlock is a device that checks a person’s blood alcohol content before the ignition will start.
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White said that he’s opposed to the idea, but is open to discussing it. He said that four DUI’s is enough for someone to prove whether they can handle the responsibility of driving privileges.
Surprisingly, Sam Canzoneri, the executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Illinois, said that his group supports the measure. He said that ideally, MADD would not like to see any repeat drunk driving offenders behind the wheel of a car. However, the group feels that this proposal has every sanction possible in place.
The law has passed the Vehicles and Safety committee, which means it is now headed to the full legislature for debate. Mr. Ankin, the founder of Chicago car accident firm The Ankin Law Office, expressed concern that the sanctions may not be implemented effectively.
Mr. Ankin said he has seen one too many Chicago car crash caused by drunk driving. Teens face a higher risk of drunk driving during prom season. In 2012, drunk driving led to 335 deaths in Illinois, which accounted for 35 percent of the state’s fatalities on the roads. That same year, there were more than 37,000 arrests for DUI. More than 5,000 of them were repeat offenders. For example, one repeat offender has been convicted of a DUI for an unprecedented eight time.