In High-Tech Age, IL Officials Urge Halt To Seizing Driver Licenses


Illinois is one of the few states where officers can — and often do — take a driver’s license during routine traffic stops, says the Chicago Tribune. A group of state officials is trying to change that. In an era when a government-issued photo ID is often needed to board an airplane or make a credit-card purchase, the practice is antiquated, they said. “Your driver’s license is probably your only government-issued form of ID,” said DuPage County Circuit Clerk Chris Kachiroubas. “To lose it for a bad left turn, I’ve always thought that was a bad idea.”

Kachiroubas’ county is rolling out a new electronic ticketing program to reduce paper and save money, but the system also could allow drivers to pay for tickets or bail with a credit card during a traffic stop. State law requires that drivers ticketed for a moving violation post bail. They do that by paying $75 at the police station, surrendering a bond card (usually available from insurance companies) or giving up their driver’s license. Police officers also can just ask for a signature, but such leniency is rare. Because few people have bond cards or the time to travel to a police station, they usually give up their licenses. Protocols in other states vary widely. In Michigan, officers take licenses of out-of-state drivers only. In Mississippi, police can take driver’s licenses of in-state residents but rarely do. Like many states, Texas and Oregon take licenses only during drunken-driving arrests. Few take it as a common first option, like Illinois. “The process is outdated,” said Logan County Circuit Clerk Carla Bender. “The law and the Supreme Court rule need to catch up to technology.”


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