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December 31, 2008

New Law Cracking Down on Drunk Drivers Takes Effect at Midnight
First Time DUI Offenders to Face Tougher Restrictions before Being Allowed Behind the Wheel

SPRINGFIELDThe Blagojevich administration is asking that you think twice before driving drunk this New Year’s holiday.  The warning comes as a new law requiring Breathe Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) for first time DUI offenders is set to take effect.


The new law signifies anyone arrested for DUI beginning at midnight on January 1, 2009, will be required to install this device if they want driving relief during the length of their driver’s license suspension.  In addition, the new law requires the person to submit a breath test every time they wish to start their vehicle and also at periodic intervals after their vehicle has been started.


“Designate a sober driver tonight.  It is a simple choice I sincerely ask that you make before you head to your New Year’s Eve celebrations,” said Governor Rod R. Blagojevich.  “Take the time to think about the deadly results of drinking and driving and keep yourself, your loved ones and your community safe.”


If the BAIID device registers a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above a pre-set level, the vehicle does not start.  In addition, the device keeps a record of each attempt to start the vehicle and the corresponding BAC level.  These records will be monitored by the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office, and the DUI offender will be subject to further penalties if he or she continues to attempt to drive under the influence.


“This is a new and innovative approach to deal with a very serious traffic safety issue,” said Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.  “There are too many people killed and injured each year by drunk drivers.  This law uses technology to target DUI offenders in an effort to make our roads safer, while posing no inconvenience to the vast majority of Illinoisans who are safe and responsible drivers.  Most importantly, this law will save lives.”


“We hope this new approach will encourage motorists to think twice before getting behind the wheel intoxicated,” said Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Milton R. Sees.  “When motorists make the decision to drive drunk, they are putting innocent lives in danger and we will not tolerate that behavior on Illinois roadways.”


Nearly every state has a form of BAIID law with some states mandating use of the device for offenders and others leaving it to the discretion of a judge.  Illinois is one of just six states mandating BAIID use by first-time offenders.  However, Illinois is the largest state to mandate the BAIID law.


“The Illinois State Police and law enforcement agencies throughout the State are committed to keeping impaired drivers off our roadways,” said Illinois State Police Director Larry G. Trent. “With the implementation of the Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device program, first time offenders will be less likely to become repeat offenders.  We are hopeful that the use of this technology will lead to a reduction in crashes and fatalities resulting from DUIs.”


For more information about impaired driving in Illinois, log onto www.drivesoberillinois.org.


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