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Illinois lawmakers to vote on increasing in-car DUI solutions

Getting injured in a car crash can change a person's life in the blink of an eye. But while all car accidents have the potential to be catastrophic, drunk driving accidents in particular all share one unique quality: they can all be prevented.

For decades, efforts to curb or prevent drunk driving have launched in earnest, from increasing police patrols to increasing marketing and educational campaigns. These efforts have seen some success, but the fact remains that too many people still get in their cars after drinking too much and cause a serious accident. Currently, lawmakers in Illinois are considering new policies that are aimed at tackling drunk driving from inside a person's car.

There are two bills that are currently awaiting vote by lawmakers. Both of them involve repeat drunk drivers, ignition interlock devices and improving driving restrictions.

The first bill would extend the amount of a time people with two DUI offenses would have the ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles. Before getting a license reinstated, drivers would be required to have the breath-testing device in their car for five years without re-offending.

The second bill deals with drivers who have had four or more convictions for DUI. Currently, these drivers lose their licenses permanently, but the proposed bill would grant them the opportunity to apply for a restricted permit once they can prove that they haven't used alcohol in three or more years. These drivers would also be required to have the ignition interlock device installed in their cars or trucks if a permit is granted.

The use of in-car breath testers has increased in recent years and they can be effective, as they physically prevent a drunk driver from operating the vehicle. However, these solutions -- and others designed to prevent drunk driving -- are not perfect. In regards to these bills, for example, the affected drivers have already been caught for drunk driving and still haven't learned their lesson.

In some cases, the best way to teach this lesson is to hold a drunk driver financially and legally accountable for damages suffered in an accident. Victims have the right to do this and can speak with an attorney to learn more about their legal options.

Source: The Southern, "2 drunken driving bills awaiting votes in Illinois House," April 12, 2015

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