Illinois May Tighten License Loophole

August 27, 1999

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An Illinois highway safety committee decided last week to push legislation this fall that would tighten a loophole that let a truck driver involved in a fatal Amtrak train crash last spring keep his license despite numerous traffic violations.

Secretary of State Jesse White formed the committee after the deadly train-truck crash in Bourbonnais, IL, last March. The truck driver whose rig was on the tracks, causing the trail to derail and kill 11 people, was driving on a probationary license under "court supervision." This process lets motorists pay fines for traffic violations and not have them reported to authorities or insurance companies as long as the drivers don't commit other offenses within a certain period.
Currently, there is no way for one county to know whether a motorist in its traffic court has court supervision from another county. White's committee is calling for a bill that would require court supervision penalties in traffic cases to be reported to the state. Judges would be able to tap into the system and see a driver's record. Just giving judges information on previous offenses and the punishment will cut down on court-supervision offenses, committee members agreed.

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