No more turning over driver's license for ticket: House passes 'sign-and-drive'

News-DemocratMay 22, 2014 

Illinois Legislature

The floor of the Illinois Senate.

SETH PERLMAN — AP

— Legislation approved Thursday by the Illinois House would allow drivers to simply sign their ticket rather than surrender their license when they receive a traffic citation.

The "sign-and-drive" legislation passed unanimously in the House, 116-0, and had already been approved in the Senate. It now goes to the governor.

Currently, drivers in many Illinois jurisdictions are required to surrender their driver's license to the police officer when they receive a traffic ticket. The driver gets the license back after the ticket is resolved. The system is designed to ensure that the driver doesn't skip court or otherwise disregard the ticket.

Under the bill, the secretary of state's office would be required to temporarily suspend the driver's license if he or she doesn't appear for court.

The bill's House sponsor, Rep. John D'Amico, D-Chicago, said the sign-and-drive option would not be allowable for drunken-driving offenses.

Rep. Dennis Reboletti, R-Elmhurt, said the measure would let Illinois "join the 21st century" in handling traffic tickets.

Reboletti, a former prosecutor, said he knows of many instances where a person's travel plans were ruined because he or she committed a minor driving infraction and no longer had a form of identification. He said a driver's license, for many people, is their only form of identification.

License reinstatement after four DUI arrests

A measure that would allow a person to get a restricted driver's license after being convicted four times of drunken driving failed Thursday in the House.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, pulled the bill as votes were being tallied. It was clear that the measure couldn't get enough votes for passage.

The bill would have allowed a four-time DUI offender to get a restricted license -- for example to drive to work -- if at least five years have passed since the driver's most recent revocation, and the driver has been sober at least three years.

The bill also would have required such drivers to install ignition locks on their vehicles, preventing the vehicles from moving if the driver is impaired.

Under current state law, anyone convicted of four DUIs loses the right to drive again. Nekritz said the measure would give "some hope" to people who have turned their lives around.

Contact reporter Brian Brueggemann at bbrueggemann@bnd.com or 239-2511.

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