To say that driving under the influence of alcohol will impair an Illinois driver's ability to react quickly, judge speed and judge distance, feels a bit like stating the obvious. Drunk driving is illegal for a reason. It is illegal because drunk driving is deadly. It is estimated that nationally, 7,000 deaths a year are attributed to drunk driving accidents. Many of these deaths are against innocent victims on the road.
While Illinois already has laws on the books that mean that even a first-time offender is mandated to have an ignition interlock device installed within their vehicle, a federal safety board is recommending that all 50 states pass this law in addition to Illinois and 16 other states that already have similar laws.
While there will likely be push back on this effort from the alcohol industry for obvious reason, many are hailing this as a welcome indication that the roads could become safer. An ignition interlock device will not allow an individual that submits a breath sample over between .02-.04 percent to start their vehicle. Obviously, with drivers that have even had a little bit to drink unable to hit the highway, death rates could start to drop.
If the criminal consequences associated with a drunk driving accident are not enough to scare off an offender, then maybe the fact that drunk drivers that seriously injure or kill others could be held financially liable to the victims will scare potential offenders.
While compensation would never bring back a family's loved one that was killed by a drunk driver, it can give some sense of justice in an awful situation.
Source: Associated Press, "NTSB: Use ignition locks for all drunken drivers," Dec. 12, 2012