In the United States, almost thirty people die everyday from alcohol-impaired driving. In 2010, alcohol-impaired driving accounted for 31% of all traffic-related deaths or 10,228 people. Young people, especially ages 21-24, are most at risk for alcohol related car accidents and, in 2010, were responsible for 32% of all instances of drinking and driving. For underage drinkers, the greatest single mortality risk factor is motor vehicle accidents. Men, in 2010, were involved in 81% of all drinking and driving.
In Illinois, the legal limit is .08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC), however a person can be arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) for a BAC between .05 and .08. 625 ILCS 5/11-501. At this level, a person’s balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing becomes poor, it is harder to detect danger, and judgment and self-control are impaired.
These symptoms can cause drivers problems with concentration, speed control, impaired reception, short-term memory loss, and reduced information processing. As of 2011, Illinois has 49,537 three-time offenders, 5,659 five-time offenders, and 298 DUI fatalities.
In Illinois, if a person fails or refuses to submit to a complete chemical testing, there is an automatic statutory summary suspension of the person’s license. If it is a first offense failing a chemical test, driving privileges are suspended for six months, and if it is a second or subsequent office within five years, the person’s driving privileges are suspended for one year.
The penalties for a DUI conviction depend on a number of factors including driver’s age, BAC level, if a child under sixteen was being transported, and if the driver had a previous DIU conviction. An Aggravated DUI is a DUI offense that also results in felony charges. If it is a person’s first DUI conviction, it is a Class A misdemeanor requiring a minimum revocation of driving privileges for one year or two years if the person is under 21. If the driver’s BAC was .16 or higher, there is a mandatory minimum fine of $500 and 100 hours of community service. If the driver was driving a child under 16 years old, there is a mandatory minimum fine of $1000 and 25 days community service along with possible imprisonment up to six months.
If the child under sixteen suffers bodily harm, it is an Aggravated DIU, Class 4 felony. A second DUI conviction is also a Class A misdemeanor but with more serious penalties including a minimum five-year loss of full driving privileges. A third DUI conviction is an Aggravated DUI and Class 2 felony. A fifth DUI conviction is a Class 1 felony and a sixth or subsequent DUI conviction is a Class X felony where the person’s driving privileges are revoked for life. A DUI conviction is a permanent part of the person’s driving record.
At any point, there are two million people on the road with three or more drunk driving offenses. Between 50-75% of those who have their licenses taken away drive anyways. With almost a third of all traffic deaths involving drunk driving, there is still much work to be done to reduce these numbers and improve traffic safety.
Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
If you or your loved one was involved in an alcohol related vehicle accident contact Chicago’s most respected personal injury law firm for a free case evaluation. In addition to looking towards the driver responsible for the collision, our Chicago accident attorneys have successfully prosecuted cased against bars and restaurants which may have served the alcoholic beverages. There are strict statute of limitations governing these cases, so contact our team today and begin the legal process.