In 2007, more than 40 percent of people arrested in drunken driving cases refused to submit to the breath test. Every year since 2001, the percentage of people refusing Breathalyzers has steadily increased.
"It's the dirty little secret that isn't really a secret anymore. If you don't have any scientific evidence, you are in much better shape in court. It's becoming way more common to deny the Breathalyzer," said David Malham of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Illinois. "I don't know how you do it, but it's a loophole that needs to be addressed."
A state law that took effect Jan. 1 is aimed at getting more drivers to submit to a breath test. It increases the mandatory license suspension from 6 months to 1 year for those who refuse the Breathalyzer.
But turning down the breath test won’t always get drivers out of a chemical test for alcohol in their blood. An Illinois Supreme Court ruling found that drivers who refuse the Breathalyzer can be forced to submit to a blood test for alcohol, but few officers resort to those measures.