State officials: Lowering DUI limit worth a look

Updated 5/14/2013 6:27 PM

SPRINGFIELD -- Secretary of State Jesse White said the idea of reducing Illinois' drunk-driving threshold from a .08 to a .05 blood alcohol content deserves "further study," a spokesman said Tuesday after a federal agency recommended the change.

The National Transportation Safety Board said cutting the legal limit would reduce the risk of accidents by half.

White's spokesman, Henry Haupt, said the board's recommendation requires additional study.

The board recommended all 50 states lower the DUI limit, but the decision to do so will ultimately be left to state lawmakers.

State Rep. Dennis Reboletti, an Elmhurst Republican, said lawmakers would have to work with the secretary of state's office and police to see if that would be the best way to go.

"It was .10, now we're down to .08," Reboletti said. "I would think a task force would be in order to look at that over the summertime and see if that's reasonable."

Reboletti proposed drunken driving legislation of his own Tuesday, announcing a measure to stiffen the punishment for drivers-for-hire who are caught driving drunk.

"I think it's pretty fair to say if you are out drinking with friends and you hire a bus or a cab, you don't want the driver to be more drunk than you are," Reboletti said.

Reboletti said the proposal is in response to a limousine driver being charged with driving drunk while taking Oswego High School students to their prom last weekend.

Reboletti told reporters that the driver would only be charged with a misdemeanor DUI because under Illinois law the only way a driver-for-hire can be charged with an aggravated DUI on a first offense is if he or she is transporting passengers under the age of 18.

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