A common-sense effort for a solution to a real problem has eluded the Illinois legislature yet again, most likely because of fear.
Representative Elaine Neikritz proposed legislation that would have allowed a carefully Restricted Driving Permit for qualified motorists with lifetime revocations. Given the extensive data that demonstrates a lifetime revocation doesn't necessarily have a deterrent effect or prevent DUI, the proposal would have allowed such a permit after a 5-year waiting period with a BAIID device. This type of device would prevent the motorist from operating the vehicle with any significant amount of alcohol in their system, even if that alcohol was not enough to impair them.
The proposed legislation received only 52 votes, eight votes shy of the 60 votes that were needed for it to advance. Concerns had been expressed that providing a individuals with an opportunity to drive again after four DUI convictions was just too much of a safety risk to drivers.
Rep. Nekritz had countered those arguments by reminding her colleagues that compelling committee testimony from persons who need another opportunity to drive to and from their employment had provided a valid reason to approve the legislative proposal. “We need to offer these people hope,” she said. "I know that it's controversial. I know that it's difficult. But I think it's the right policy for the state of Illinois."
Rep. Nekrtiz did use a parliamentary procedure designed to preserve possible a vote in the future on the same legislation in the event that she is able to pick up additional support. However, the odds of picking up that support are long given that more than a majority of the chamber voted against the bill.
The proposal would also have allowed some possibility of restoration of driving privileges after 10 years.