Bill would let drivers keep their license cards after traffic stops

The Illinois Senate is considering a bill which would allow officers to issue I bonds to motorists for traffic infractions instead of confiscating their license until their case has been resolved in court.

From the Daily Herald:

State Sen. Michael Noland, an Elgin Democrat, wants to change the law so Illinois residents can keep their licenses after minor traffic violations.

“For law-abiding citizens that made a wrong turn or were speeding a little bit more than they should, it will make life a whole lot easier,” Noland said.

State law requires people who get traffic tickets to post bond before driving away, so drivers trade their licenses for their freedom. The court gives back the license after the driver shows up in court or pays the fine…

Noland’s proposal, which he calls the “sign and drive” plan, replaces driver’s license confiscation with a written agreement the offender signs promising to show up in court or pay the fine on time, called an individual bond.

“He would provide you with the ticket,” Noland said. “You would sign your name promising to either pay your fine or appear in court. Then you would just drive right down the road.”…

Noland said his plan would make individual bonds the primary form of bond for a driver.

Courts would tell the secretary of state’s office if offenders failed to show up in court or pay fines. That office could suspend their licenses.

Former Republican state Sen. John Millner, a former Elmhurst police chief, said Noland’s plan “has merit” but could cause more paperwork for court officials when drivers skip their dates.

“There are a number of advantages and disadvantages in terms of giving up your driver’s license,” Millner said. “On one hand, it makes sure you show up in court. But it’s an inconvenience for the motorist and the officers.”

Noland said he doesn’t think taking the driver’s license is a good way to get people to show up in court, and some people will ignore their notice to appear in court no matter what the incentive.

“What we’re really getting at here is to stop inconveniencing people who are law-abiding citizens, who would gladly pay right away or appear in court if they want to contest,” Noland said. “But now they’re going without their driver’s license that’s very important.”

His proposal has been approved by an Illinois Senate committee and awaits a vote by the full Senate.

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