Plan would end driver's license seizure for traffic offenders

  • Lawmakers are debating whether to let Illinois drivers keep their licenses after minor traffic stops.

    Lawmakers are debating whether to let Illinois drivers keep their licenses after minor traffic stops. Daily Herald File Photo

By Marty Hobe
Updated 5/22/2014 2:44 PM

SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois driving delinquents could keep their driver's licenses after minor violations like speeding or rolling through a stop sign under legislation approved by the state House Thursday.

A driver would have to sign a waiver promising to show up in court or pay a fine instead of handing over an ID, which the driver might need for other tasks like boarding an airplane or buying alcohol.


State law allows police to take a person's license as a form of bond.

The plan, nicknamed the "Sign and Drive" proposal, was approved by the Illinois House unanimously and moves to the Senate, which needs to sign off on changes before sending it to Gov. Pat Quinn.

State Rep. Dennis Reboletti, an Elmhurst Republican, said this plan is an important one because driver's licenses are "usually the only ID people have."

"It's time the state of Illinois joined the 21st Century in the way we do business in terms of how we issue traffic violations," Reboletti said.

In the meantime, a proposal that would allow people with four DUI convictions the opportunity to get restricted driver's permits was rejected. Now, state law bans four-time DUI offenders from getting an Illinois license for life.

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Under state Rep. Elaine Nekritz's proposal, people who have gone five years or more without a DUI arrest could plead their case to officials in the Illinois secretary of state's office.

"It gives hope (for) those who actually turn their life around and demonstrated it with solid evidence," the Northbrook Democrat said.

Also, people who got permission for the special driver's license would face limitations such as driving only during the day and installing an ignition interlock device in their cars. The device is a special Breathalyzer that locks the ignition until the person blows into it and is shown to be sober.

"We're looking for a little ray of hope for them to reconstruct their lives," she said in defense of her plan.

The Illinois House didn't agree, rejecting the idea Thursday.

"Why don't we have this at three DUIs?" state Rep. Jeanne Ives, a Wheaton Republican, said. "I think the bar should be lower, not higher."

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