Lake County to Increase use of Alcohol Ankle Monitors in DUI cases

From the Libertyville Patch:

From the Lake County State Attorney’s Office: With nearly 1,800 DUI arrests in 2016 Lake County has the fourth highest rate of drunk driving in Illinois, and high-risk DUI offenders—those who repeatedly drive drunk or are most likely to cause a serious crash—account for up to a third of those arrests. Now, to improve public safety and reduce repeat offenses, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office has launched a new program that will monitor these high-risk offenders around the clock to ensure they aren’t drinking.

As a condition of bond, drunk driving offenders who cause a crash with serious injuries, those with multiple DUIs and those who are arrested with a high BAC will be required to stay sober and wear a high-tech anklet that monitors them for drinking 24/7. Post-conviction, these offenders can be sentenced to monitored sobriety for up to 180 days. The program is also set up to address other offenses, like domestic violence and assault, where alcohol played a contributing role.

The goal of the program is to reduce the number of offenders who are putting the community at risk by committing alcohol-involved crimes. Offenders are responsible for the costs of their monitoring, which allows them to maintain their employment and family commitments while ensuring they aren’t drinking and endangering the public.

According to Michael G. Nerheim, Lake County State’s Attorney, “When we separate these offenders from alcohol, we know they aren’t going to be out drinking and driving or committing other alcohol-involved crimes. We are targeting the root cause of these problems, saving taxpayers’ money and giving these offenders the chance to get sober and get their lives back on track.”

Known as SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring, or SCRAM CAM, the anklet automatically tests the wearer’s perspiration every 30 minutes for alcohol consumption. The technology has been used to monitor 620,000 high-risk DUI offenders around the country and more than 12,500 people in Illinois.

“Alcohol monitoring, especially when it’s part of a larger program of supervision and treatment, can support long-term behavior change, making it less likely these individuals will be back here for another offense in the future,” notes State’s Attorney Nerheim.

 

Insurance Institute Study says Ignition Interlocks for all DUI offenders will save lives

From the website of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety:

Laws requiring all impaired-driving offenders to install alcohol interlocks reduce the number of impaired drivers in fatal crashes by 16 percent, a new IIHS study shows. If all states without such laws adopted them, more than 500 additional lives could be saved each year.

A separate study shows that those laws could be made even more effective. In a detailed examination of Washington’s interlock policies, Institute researchers found that, as the state’s interlock laws were strengthened, interlock installations went up and recidivism declined. At the same time, more DUI charges were reduced to lesser offenses that don’t require interlocks. That suggests states could increase the impact of their interlock laws by closing such loopholes.

The two studies are the latest to support the expansion of alcohol interlocks — in-vehicle breath-testing units that require a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) below a certain level, typically somewhere between 0.02 and 0.04 percent, before the vehicle can be started.

More than a quarter of U.S. crash deaths occur in crashes in which at least one driver has a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. The prevalence of impaired driving in fatal crashes has changed little in the past two decades, and interlock laws are one of the few recent policy innovations that have made a difference.

Forty-five states require interlocks for at least certain impaired-driving offenders. Twenty-eight states, the District of Columbia and four California counties have some type of interlock requirement that applies to first-time offenders.

Even when they are mandated for first offenders, interlocks come into play only after a DUI arrest, so their direct purpose is to reduce recidivism. Like other types of sanctions, however, they may act as a deterrent for those who haven’t yet committed a first offense if they are well-publicized.

…For the analysis, the authors grouped together two types of all-offender interlock laws: those that require all offenders, including first-time offenders, to install interlocks in order to have their license reinstated and those that only require it to drive during a post-conviction suspension. The analysis controlled for factors besides interlocks that could affect crashes.

Laws that required interlocks for repeat offenders only cut the number of drivers with BACs of 0.08 percent by 3 percent compared with no interlock law, and that effect wasn’t statistically significant, the study showed. Laws that required them for both repeat offenders and offenders with high BACs provided an 8 percent benefit.

Read the entire story at the IIHS website at: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/sr/statusreport/article/53/2/1

With new year, new law will end the 30 day “hard time” wait for DUI driving permits

As the Chicago Tribune noted over the weekend, as of January 1, 2016, there will no longer be a 30 day “hard time” period before people who are suspended for first time Illinois DUIs can get a driving permit.

The new law ends an anachronism that had kept a 1980’s era law on the books despite recent changes in Illinois drunk driving laws that made the hard time period unnecessary and counter-productive.

In Illinois, first time DUI offenders receive a license suspension if they either fail or refuse a breath, blood or urine test.  The suspension is six months for failing the test and twelve months for refusing.

This suspension law has been around in one form or another since the 1980s. The idea was to get drunk drivers off the road without having to wait for their DUI case to be resolved.

Since 2009, these first offenders have been eligible for a Monitored Device Driving Permit (“MDDP”) which allows the person to drive their car 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so long as their vehicle is equipped with a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (“BAIID”).

However, as a holdover to the old law, there was still a 30 day “hard time” rule, which was designed to keep drunk drivers off the road.  Since now there is a BAIID requirement, there is enough of a safeguard that the person won’t drive drunk, so there was no longer any need for the wait.  In light of that, Congress removed the 30 day hard time provision that was a condition of Federal Highway appropriations back in 2012, with the blessing of MADD.

It took Illinois another three years to act on this and remove the 30 day wait time.

You may ask, “why should we do anything that helps drunk drivers?”

And here are the reasons:

  • They can’t drive drunk with a BAIID installed on their car.
  • If they do somehow drive drunk (or stoned), they will be charged with felony and face one to three years in prison, if not more depending on his or her background.
  • This will discourage people from driving while suspended during that 30 day time period, as well as skipping out on the BAIID restricted permit altogether since it wasn’t helping them during the hard time period.
  • It will also give prosecutors more reason not to agree to rescissions of the license suspension for people who have a hardship with the 30 day hard time provision (although it is still a useful tool for prosecutors as a carrot to dangle to encourage guilty pleas).

 

Governor signs into law bill removing waiting period for DUI driving permits

Governor Rauner has signed into law a bill (SB 0627) which removes the “hard time” waiting periods before a motorist could apply for a DUI-related driving permit.

Effective January 1, 2016, the bill will remove the 30 day waiting period before a person could obtain a Monitored Device Driving Permit (“MDDP”) after getting a first offense DUI suspension for either failing or refusing a breath, blood or urine test.

The law also removes the one year waiting time for a person whose license has been revoked for DUI to apply for a Restricted Driving Permit, and the three year wait for a person who has a summary suspension for a second offense refusal..

In addition, the law will require DUI arrestees to sign a form acknowledging that they have been warned of the license suspension consequences for either failing or refusing to take a breath test.  This is an advantage for prosecutors, who routinely lose suspension hearings on this issue when officer can’t make it to court and the defendant is able to testify that he or she wasn’t warned.

Overall, this law is a big win for both defendants and the public.  With the advent of breath interlock devices, there is no compelling reason to make people wait to obtain a driving permit when there is technology out there that will prevent them from driving drunk.

A recap of the new laws effecting DUI license revocations

Click here to get a post on my official website to read a full recap of the two new pieces of major legislation signed into law by Governor Rauner effecting DUI revocations.

http://www.illinoisduilawyer.com/il-dui-lawyer/major-new-changes-to-license-reinstatement-laws-enacted

Gov signs into law bill requiring repeat DUI offenders to spend 5 years with a breath interlock permit before full reinstatement

Governor Rauner has signed into law HB 3533, which makes a major change to Illinois’s driver license reinstatement scheme after a person’s license has been revoked for a second DUI offense.

Under the new law, such a person would not be eligible for full reinstatement for five years.  However, under the new law, he or she would be eligible immediately for a Restricted Driving Permit.

And that permit must have a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID).  So, under the new law, anyone revoked for a second or subsequent DUI will have to drive with a BAIID for five years.

Here is the synopsis of the bill:

Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Provides that the Secretary of State shall require the use of ignition interlock devices for a period not less than 5 years on all vehicles owned by a person who has been convicted of a second or subsequent offense of driving under the influence of alcohol, other drugs, intoxicating compounds, or any combination. Provides that a person convicted of a second or subsequent violation of driving under the influence of alcohol, other drugs, intoxicating compounds, or any combination, or where the use of alcohol or other drugs is recited as an element of an offense, may not make application for a driver’s license until he or she has first been issued a restricted driving permit by the Secretary, and the expiration of a continuous period of not less than 5 years following the issuance of the restricted driving permit without suspension, cancellation, or revocation of the permit, or violation of a regulation requiring use of an ignition interlock device.

Will new car tech put an end to drunk driving?

I have been hearing for years about how automakers have been working on new technology to eliminate drunk driving.  In my opinion, they will need a federal regulation mandating this technology if they want to make this universal.  Otherwise, too many people will not want to pay more money for a feature that gives them less freedom.

From new technology could put an end to drunk driving:

A technological breakthrough that could virtually eliminate the drunken driving that kills 10,000 Americans each year was announced Thursday by federal officials, who said it could begin appearing in cars in five years.

The new equipment won’t require a driver to blow into a tube, like the interlock devices some states require after drunken-driving convictions. Instead, either a passive set of breath sensors or touch-sensitive contact points on a starter button or gear shift would immediately register the level of alcohol in the bloodstream.

Drivers who registered above the legal limit wouldn’t be able to start the car.

“The message today is not ‘Can we do this?’ but ‘How soon can we do this?’ ” said Mark Rosekind, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). “It is a huge step forward.”

Eager to introduce an advance that would rival seat belts or air bags in saving lives, Rosekind said he would push to get the technology finalized, field tested and put into use before the five to eight years anticipated by researchers.

Though no cost-per-car estimate has been made, once the sensors go into general production it’s anticipated the cost will be equal to that of seat belts or air bags, about $150-$200 per vehicle.

Asked whether there would be a federal effort to mandate use of the devices in all new vehicles, Rosekind said he wasn’t sure that would be necessary.

“There’s not going to be a parent who isn’t going to want this in their child’s car,” he said. “There’s not going to be a business that’s not going to want this in their vehicles.”

NHTSA, safety advocates and automakers discussed whether the necessary technology was feasible for years. Researchers funded by auto manufacturers and federal safety regulators now have determined that it works.

They have developed passive sensors that detect how much a driver has had to drink, but are working on how best to package the sensors inside a vehicle. They have determined how to package touch-sensitive devices but still need to refine the technology to ensure accuracy…
The American Beverage Institute, a restaurant trade association, opposes the alcohol detection system.

“Today, NHTSA, MADD, and major auto makers presented what they claim will be a voluntary system … a description that directly contradicts their own past statements,” the organization said in a statement.

Though Rosekind said he didn’t think it would be necessary to make the system mandatory, he did not preclude that option. MADD is unambiguous in its belief that the system belongs in all vehicles.

Read the full story here:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/new-technology-could-put-an-end-to-drunk-driving-federal-officials-say/2015/06/04/1cd31176-0a5b-11e5-9e39-0db921c47b93_story.html