New Illinois Law Makes Driving Harder for Those Convicted of DUI

Illinois residents convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol will have a tougher time repeating their mistakes starting in 2009. As the Rockford Register Start reported, a new state law takes effect Jan. 1, 2009, requiring first-time offenders to install a breathalyzer-like device in their vehicles if they wish to continue driving to essential destinations like work during a license suspension. This ignition interlock device requires drivers to breathe into a tube that tests their breath for alcohol before the vehicle will start. Drivers must pay for the installation and lease of their own devices, as well as a monthly monitoring fee; they may also choose to bypass these costs by not driving at all while their licenses are suspended.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Illinois is one of eight states with a law requiring an interlock device for anyone convicted of DUI. Ten others, including Missouri and Kansas, require it for offenders with a high blood-alcohol concentration or for repeat offenders, and Oregon requires one for people whose licenses are reinstated after a DUI license suspension is over. The new Illinois law is close to MADD’s model law, which calls for a device to be installed within about a month of any DUI conviction.

Drunk driving, and driving under the influence of drugs, is an accident risk so well-known that it’s almost a cliche. As an Illinois auto accident lawyer, I see the destructive effects of intoxicated driving more often than I’d like — wrongful deaths, serious burns, head injuries and other very serious injuries. A breathalyzer device on the ignition can cut down on those tragedies by providing an objective test of whether the driver is safe to drive.

At Abels & Annes, we handle all types of auto accident cases, including drunk driving lawsuits. Based in Chicago, we handle legal claims throughout Illinois involving car, truck, SUV and motorcycle accidents. If you or someone you care about was seriously hurt in an accident that you believe was someone else’s fault, we would like to help. To learn more about your legal options and your rights at a free consultation, please contact us today through our Web site or at (312) 475-9596.

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