A DUI bill making its way through the Illinois Legislature would allow fourth-time DUI offenders to apply for life-long restricted driving permits. Under Illinois’s current DUI laws, only drivers with two or three DUI convictions can apply for a restricted permit while fourth-time offenders lose their driving privileges completely for life.
While the fifth-chance bill might appear to weaken the consequences for fourth-time DUI offenders, its intention is to keep roads safe. According to state Rep. Elaine Nekritz, a lot of repeat DUI offenders continue to drive on a suspended or revoked license. Even Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reports that 3 out of 4 DUI offenders with a suspended license continue to drive. However, with a restricted driving permit comes mandatory ignition interlock installation. Allowing repeat offenders to apply for restricted driving permits and install interlocks would at least prevent repeat offenders from driving drunk and putting others on the road in harm’s way.
Nekrtiz also points out that the bill doesn’t make it easy for repeat offenders to receive a restricted permit. Repeat offenders must participate in an Alcoholics Anonymous program, prove at least three years of sobriety, pay a filing fee when applying for the permit, appear at a hearing at which a hearing officer will determine if allowing the offender to drive is safe for the public, and install an ignition interlock device.
Once DUI offenders are approved for a restricted driver’s permit, they can only drive to and from work, school, and/or medical treatments and must keep the interlock installed in their vehicle as long as they have the restricted permit. Restricted driver’s permits and interlock installation would be required for life.
The bill was approved by a House committee last week. However, the bill still must pass the full House and the Senate during these last few weeks of the legislative session to be signed into law this year.