CHICAGO --- On Jan. 1, a new Illinois law takes effect that will mandate the use of breath-test devices, called interlocks, by anyone with a DUI, even after a first conviction. The device prevents drivers who have been drinking from starting their vehicle engines.
About 400,000 people around the country have five or more convictions for drunken driving, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration figures released this year. In Illinois, more than 5,500 have five or more convictions and 123 have 10 or more, the Associated Press reported. The most DUI convictions by one person in Illinois is 22, according to the federal data.
Data from the Illinois secretary of state's office show that out of 8.5 million licensed drivers in Illinois, more than 45,000 have one or more DUI convictions, AP reported. More than 3,800 have two DUIs and more than 2,700 have three, records dating from 1988 to Feb. 2008 indicate.
In Illinois, a driver's license is automatically revoked for life with a fourth DUI conviction.
State officials told AP that alcohol-related traffic deaths have fallen to 434 in 2007 from 879 in 1982, a 50 percent decline.