Court OKs Yanking Driver Licenses Over Underage Drinking

Thursday, Jun 24, 2010  |  Updated 4:15 PM CDT
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Court OKs Yanking Driver Licenses Over Underage Drinking

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that it is constitutional to punish underage drinkers by revoking their driver’s licenses, even though the crime has no connection to driving.

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The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that it is constitutional to punish underage drinkers by revoking their driver’s licenses, even though the crime has no connection to driving.

The Court agreed with Illinois lawmakers on Thursday who made a reasonable link when they decided to use driver’s licenses to punish this offense. The court says that someone who is drinking underage may also end up driving drunk.

The ruling comes in a Clinton County case.

The trial court there said that the law was unconstitutional because it violates a driver’s due process rights to suspend a license for an offense that doesn’t involve driving.

Illinois Mothers Against Drunk Driving director Susan McKeigue applauded the ruling.

"Driving is a privilege, it's not a right," McKeigue said, according to the Belleville News-Democrat . "Taking away their driver's license is good prevention, as far as I'm concerned. Having this happen as a young person, it may be a wake-up call to them how serious this is."

Drivers who are under the age of 21 make up just 10 percent of the licensed drivers in Illinois, but are involved in 17 percent of the fatal crashes involving alcohol, the Commercial News reported, citing information from the Illinois State Police.

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