Getting pulled over for a traffic violation is often stressful. On top of getting a ticket—as if this is not enough—drivers might have their license confiscated. Confiscating licenses has been common practice for decades, established in Chicago in the 1950's under the presumption that such punishment would provide a sort of collateral, encouraging lawbreakers to pay their fines or appear in court. Thanks to a bill that was signed into law last weekend, this will no longer be the case. Senate Bill 2583 declares that a driver's signature on a citation will be enough.
Taking effect January 1, 2015, the bill offers great relief to Illinois drivers. After all, one's driver's license is so much more than its name suggests. The driver's license—since it is issued by a government agency—is often the most legitimate form of convenient identification available to many Americans. Given that identification is required for many purposes beyond driving (from obtaining employment to visiting a doctor), it makes sense that this vital piece of identity not be revoked for a minor traffic violation.
It may seem upon first impression that this change does leave less motivation for drivers to fulfill their obligation to take action on a citation; however, what the bill does not change is the Secretary of State's authority to suspend the driving rights of an individual who has failed to comply with the terms of his citation. So while you may be able to drive away with your license, you still can't forget about your consequences.