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Our View: Sign and drive is overdue

Published: Friday, April 11, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

Proposed legislation to eliminate the practice of surrendering a physical driver’s license for a minor traffic offense makes such obvious common sense, it’s hard to believe it’s taken this long to rectify.

Senate Bill 2583 unanimously passed the Illinois Senate on Wednesday and has moved on to the House.

This is 2014. There has never been a time when government had more access to personal information – for good and bad. The only thing collecting plastic cards does is inconvenience the driver and create unnecessary work for government employees such as police officers and circuit clerks who have to transport and store them.

All of the vital data is stored electronically with the Illinois Secretary of State and available at the government’s fingertips. A simple license plate scan pops a wealth of information onto a patrol officer’s laptop screen.

Someone who plans to skip out on a speeding ticket won’t be hindered by the fact that his plastic card is sitting in a manila envelope in a circuit clerk’s office cabinet.

And short of U.S. passports, which not every citizen has, driver’s licenses are the most reliable forms of identification. They are necessary for airline travel and things as basic as buying cold medicine.

What sense does it make to have people walking around – or driving – without a reliable photo ID?

We hope the legislation that would require driver’s to sign a promise to come to court or risk suspension of their driving privileges has similar success in the Illinois House and with Gov. Pat Quinn.

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