In 2016, Illinois saw 272 traffic fatalities in which the driver who caused the accident was over the legal limit for blood alcohol content. This accounts for one quarter of all crash fatalities that year. To say that drunk driving is a problem is an understatement, which is why the state has taken and will continue to take a strict stance on the issue.
Under Age 21
Since 1995, Illinois has upheld a Zero Tolerance Law for individuals who are under the legal drinking age of 21. This means that if any person under the legal drinking age gets caught behind the wheel with any amount of alcohol in their system, that person will be charged with a DUI.
Over Age 21
For all other individuals, the law defines intoxicated driving in one of two ways:
- Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than .08 percent; OR
- Driving while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs—or any combination that prevents the driver from reasonably and safely operating the motor vehicle
Illinois law stipulates that even legal consumption of drugs or alcohol does not permit driving under the influence. What this stipulation means is that if a driver consumes alcohol and remains within the legal BAC limits, they must operate with extreme caution and care when behind the wheel of a vehicle. If that person causes an accident and causes harm to another person, the state may still hold them accountable for negligent behavior.