Illinois Legislative Candidate Wants to Toughen DUI Laws

A Democratic candidate for the Illinois State House of Representatives advocates broader use of ignition interlock devices for those convicted of DUI. Sam Cahnman would like to see judges order increased use of the devices for certain first time offenders, especially when blood alcohol levels are above 0.16 or when drunk driving results in an accident.

Typically judges order the installation of interlock devices when the offender has multiple DUI convictions. The systems keep a driver from starting a vehicle if alcohol is detected. Breath detection interlock devices are more effective in keeping habitual drunk drivers off the road than a license suspension. New technologies include surfaces that can detect alcohol through a person’s skin, like hands on a special steering wheel.

Cahnman was a lobbyist for a company that manufactures ignition interlock systems and he cites his help in getting legislation passed that allows judges to order use of the systems on a first DUI offense. He is concerned however that judges rarely impose the measure. Of the nearly 50,000 DUI tickets issued in the state of Illinois, about 3,000 cases result in the use of an ignition interlock device.

Organizations like MADD and Victim Impact Speakers, as well as the office of the Illinois Secretary of State, support the proposed

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