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Federal officials continue to push states for tougher DUI laws

Historically, basic matters of public safety on non-federal highways have been handled by the states. Beginning in the early 1980’s, Congress started intruding on this traditional area of state law with reference to Illinois DUI laws (Driving Under the Influence).

Rather than use persuasion, Congress employed a hammer, namely, money. States that did not submit to the will of the Federal Government risked losing federal funds allocated to the states.

Due to this coercion, all 50 states now have: a drinking age of 21 (235 ILCS 5/6-16), a blood alcohol content of .08 (625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(1) and driver’s license suspensions for either taking a test and registering above the legal limit or for refusing to take a test.

Given the recent ruling United States Supreme Court decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (“Obamacare”), exactly how far the Federal Government may go in regulating areas traditionally reserved to the states under the Commerce Clause is not completely clear. However, that will not stop Congress and the President, particularly one who, as it the case with the current occupant, favors a strong federal presence in our lives, from trying.

In vogue at the present time, touted as “silver bullets” to stop drunk driving are Interlock Ignition Devices, which in Illinois go under the names of Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP) and Breath Alcohol Interlock Ignition Devices (BAIID). A machine is incorporated into your vehicle’s ignition. The vehicle will not start unless you blow into a mouthpiece that allegedly measures blood alcohol readings.

BAIID and MDDP revolve around the idea of requiring a driver to rent a machine from someone (the manufacturer of the machine, or as the people who support these intrusions like to call them, the much less threatening-sounding “device”). Then after renting this “device”, the driver is forced to pay someone certified by the state (the installer) to place the “device” in the driver’s vehicle.

The installer periodically downloads readings from the “device” (for a fee the driver pays) and sends those results to the Illinois Secretary of State. For a fee the driver pays the Secretary of State, his office records the results and monitors the driver’s compliance with the Secretary of State’s rules. 92 Illinois Administrative Code (IAC) ยง1001.444.

Clearly, money is a factor in the push for these “devices’. And if the providers of these “devices” throw enough of it around Washington DC, there’s bound to be some proposals to increase the use of Interlock Ignition Devices (IID) throughout the country.

The state of Virginia, next door to DC, recently began requiring first offenders to install an IID. Both neighboring Maryland and the District of Columbia itself are now in the bulls eye of the National Traffic Safety Administration.


In Illinois, a DUI arrest may cause a prompt suspension of your driver’s license, beginning on the 46th day following the service by the arresting officer of a suspension notice, which usually occurs at the time of the arrest. 625 ILCS 5/6-206.1 If you have gone at least 5 years without a DUI arrest, you are eligible for an MDDP during all but the first 30 days of the suspension. 625 ILCS 5/11-500
If you are eligible for an MDDP, it is yours for the asking, provided you agree to install and pay for an IID. The MDDP allows you to drive anywhere and anytime you want.

A BAIID interlock applies if you are convicted of the DUI, in which case your driver’s license will be revoked. When a driver’s license is revoked, it ceases to exist. You must apply for a new one by having an administrative hearing with the Secretary of State. 625 ILCS 5/2-118
Not all revoked drivers are required to have BAIID. In general, unless you have two DUI convictions, you are not BAIID-required if you are reinstated.

You are not BAIID-required if you only have one DUI arrest or if you have two DUI arrests but were not convicted of the first one and it’s been more than 10 years since the first one. You are not BAIID required if you live out of state. 625 ILCS 5/6-205(c) and 6-206(c)(3)

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