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Illinois speeders would keep driver's licenses under proposed bill

Proposal would allow drivers to keep licenses after being ticketed

To cash a check or get on an airplane, many people have to show their driver's license, which can be a problem for those who have to hand it over after getting a speeding ticket.

That's one of the reasons a growing contingent of circuit clerks, law enforcement officials and attorneys are pushing for a bill currently making its way through the Illinois Legislature.

Senate Bill 2583 would eliminate a driver's license as a bond option for those charged with minor traffic offenses and would instead allow them to sign the ticket, promising to comply with the terms of the citation. Those that don't would have their driving privileges suspended.

Under current state law, out-of-state drivers can keep their licenses.

As circuit clerks' offices move toward electronic filing, the driver's license has become more and more of a hassle, slowing down the process, McHenry County Circuit Clerk Katherine Keefe said.

Almost of all of McHenry County's municipalities are using electronic filing to some degree, but many of the driver's licenses still need to be manually transported to the circuit clerk's office in Woodstock, she said.

"[The change is] something the circuit clerks have been pushing for a long time," Keefe said.

Woodstock Chief Robert Lowen worries, though, that the switch could lead to more people finding their license suspended because they forgot to follow through on a ticket.

That can still happen under the current system, Crystal Lake Police Cmdr. Dan Dziewior said.

"People are either going to be responsible if they post their driver's license or not, or post their money or not, or sign or not," he said. "Their action is going to stay the same."

Kevin Chrzanowski, an attorney with Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle, sees the threat of a suspended license having more of an impact on someone appearing in court than a posted driver's license.

His firm prosecutes offenders for 12 area municipalities, many of which have already moved away from taking driver's licenses, he said.

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