In Illinois, the law is about to get tougher on uninsured drivers. The current Illinois law calls for a fine of $500-$1,000, and possible 3-6 month license suspensions upon a conviction.
The new proposed law would make driving with no insurance a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year in jail. The Illinois Senate passed the proposed legislation by a 56-1 vote on Wednesday, and it is now headed to Governor Pat Quinn for approval.
The new law is named after Michael Dean, who was hit and killed by an uninsured driver in 2006. Many were outraged because the only penalty for the at fault driver not having auto insurance was a monetary fine with no jail time.
The new law is tougher, but still not tough enough.
Here is the big problem with the insurance law in Illinois. The minimum coverage is still $20,000 per person, and $40,000 per occurrence.
Let’s hypothetically say the driver that killed Michael Dean had the minimum required insurance. No amount of money is going to bring a loved one back or make a family whole again, but $20,000 is a slap in the face. (I have handled car accident death cases where the victim incurred over $500,000 in medical bills before passing away).
I agree with the new law as a step in the right direction, but why should a defendant with no insurance serve a year in jail, while at the same time a defendant with a $20,000 insurance policy will walk away free? It is time to raise the minimum insurance requirements in Illinois.