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DUI enforcement: federal law would mandate national uniformity

Illinois is among a strong minority of states with a law on the books mandating that even a first-time convicted drunk driver install an ignition interlock device on every vehicle that he or she drives.

In fact, Illinois was an early convert among the 24 states that presently impose that requirement on those convicted of a DUI offense, with its statutory provision enacted into law January 1, 2009.

If new federal legislation just proposed gains traction in the United States Congress and is eventually passed into law, that comparatively stringent requirement will shortly be imposed on first-time convicted drunk drivers in every state.

Advocates of the would-be law say unequivocally and with conviction that its imposition would result in far fewer car accidents and resulting fatalities across the country. Reportedly, more than 10,000 persons die annually in crashes involving drunk motorists.

Unsurprisingly, the national organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving strongly supports the legislation. In fact, the lobbying group assisted in writing what is commonly called Alisa’s Law, named in honor of the late daughter of MADD’s current president. Alisa Withers died in 1992 when she was struck by an underage drunk motorist.

According to MADD, which has for years called for uncompromisingly harsh laws to be applied against drunk drivers, a person arrested for DUI for the first time has typically driven drunk scores of times prior to that initial stop.

There is no question that drunk driving is a national scourge and a predominant catalyst in the deaths of many innocent people in Illinois and nationally.

Even in non-fatal crashes, victims often suffer debilitating injuries that result in high medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and property damage.

Legal remedies compensate for such losses caused by the negligent conduct of third parties. A proven personal injury attorney with experience representing victims of motor vehicle accidents can answer questions and provide strong representation in any damage claim.

Source: Forbes, "New ignition interlock legislation aims to save thousands from drunk driving deaths," Tanya Mohn, July 7, 2014

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