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SPRINGFIELD — Illinois has a new law on the books designed to toughen drunken driving penalties.

Under legislation endorsed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, ignition interlock devices will become more common as a way to stop chronic violators from getting behind the wheel.

“Repeat drunk driving convictions show a clear pattern of dangerous and potentially deadly behavior on our roads,” said state Sen. Jason Barickman, a Bloomington Republican who co-sponsored the law. “This legislation will help stop drunk drivers before they enter our roads.”

The measure, which takes effect immediately, prohibits any driver with two or more DUI convictions from operating a vehicle unless it has an ignition interlock device installed. The devices require drivers to blow into them to prove the driver is sober before the vehicle can start.

Secretary of State Jesse White, who has made drunk driving a centerpiece of his lengthy tenure in office, believes the law will make roads safer.

“This legislation will further strengthen our state’s DUI laws, which will make our roads safer and save lives," White said in a statement.

The new law also will eliminate the period of time in which the offender cannot drive.

Supporters of the change said that when DUI offenders have a suspended license, they often drive anyway. The law will allow the offenders to drive, but only with the ignition interlock device.

Motorists convicted of a DUI in an accident causing great bodily harm or death will have to wait one year before receiving any type of driving permit.

The legislation is Senate Bill 627.


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