New bill could give four-time DUI offenders another chance

Illinois law would replace a lifetime driving ban with a restricted driving permit

A new law that is being debated by the Illinois Senate could see drivers convicted of four DUIs get another chance to get behind the wheel. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, HB4206 would replace the current lifetime ban drivers who have four DUI convictions currently face with a restricted driving permit.

Bill gains support from anti-drunk driving groups

While it may seem paradoxical, the proposed law has gained the support from the state's two largest anti-drunk driving groups, Mothers Against Drunk Driving-Illinois and the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists.

The reason for the surprising support by these groups is because, according to AAIM and MADD, current law does little to actually prevent drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel. Many drunk drivers, even if they have had their license revoked, will still end up driving because it is often so difficult to live without a vehicle. As a result, other drivers in Illinois are placed at risk by these convicted drivers.

Drivers would face tough restrictions

Under the proposed bill, drivers convicted of four DUIs would only be allowed to drive again after complying with a number of restrictions. Anybody who has been involved in a drunk driving crash that lead to a fatality, for example, would not be allowed to apply for a driving permit.

Furthermore, convicted drivers would only be able to drive vehicles that are breathalyzer-enabled, meaning the ignition will not work if the driver has been drinking. Additionally, video technology in the car would prevent drunk drivers from using another person to start the car for them.

The bill would also require drivers to prove that they have been sober for three consecutive years and to complete a rehabilitation program beforehand. The driver would only be able to apply for the restricted license either five years after their last offence or after they have served their sentence, whichever is last.

Keep drunk drivers off the road

Because of these restrictions, groups like MADD and AAIM say that the new law will be more effective at keeping drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel. There are currently 5,000 Illinoisans who have four DUI convictions and have therefore had their licenses completely revoked.

While this new bill is certainly controversial and it is not yet clear whether it will become law, it is a reminder of just how dangerous drunk drivers can be. A drunken driving accident can cause injuries, trauma, and even death and leaves both physical and emotional scars on innocent victims for years afterwards. In Illinois, anybody who is the victim of a drunken driving accident has the right to seek compensation beyond what would be expected from other personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits. A personal injury lawyer who has experience in drunken driving cases can advise clients about what the available legal and compensatory options are.