There was a big change to Illinois drunk driving laws recently, and most people involved see it as a win-win for everyone who’s either been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or anyone who wants to keep drunk drivers off the road.
As of January 1st, 2016, anyone who was arrested for drunk driving in Illinois will be allowed to keep driving without suspension as long as they install an ignition interlock in their vehicle. This is a huge change from current Illinois drunk driving laws that require a first time offender to lose their privilege to drive for 30 days. Repeat offenders in the state are often required to lose their license for even longer periods.
By allowing an offender to continue driving immediately as long as they have an ignition interlock, the state is being realistic about what comes after someone gets arrested for drunk driving. Although some offenders will take cabs, the bus, or beg for rides from other people, a lot of people have commitments they feel they won’t be able to attend to if they don’t drive. That’s one of the reasons why people get behind the wheel and drive while suspended, and if they make the choice to drive while suspended, there’s a chance they might also make the choice to drink and drive again.
With this change comes support from all sides of the drunk driving debate, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is firmly in the corner of eliminating mandatory drivers license suspensions. They have long since been strong supporters of ignition interlock devices for all offenders, and feel that immediate use of the devices are a much better choice than suspension for anyone convicted of drunk driving in Illinois.
The change doesn’t come without cost, but the offender will bear the brunt of it. They will have to pay for special permits, the monthly cost of the ignition interlock, and monitoring for the device, but it’s a good trade off for any drunk driver when they consider the inconvenience of a drivers license suspension.