Saturday, December 26, 2009

Operating Snowmobiles while Intoxicated in Illinois

With all the snow falling in Chicagoland over the past few days, it's a good time to mention Illinois laws regarding motorized snow activities.

After all, it's only been two years since CBS Chicago journalist, Randy Salerno, was killed in a Wisconsin snowmobile accident.

In January 2008, Salerno died when his friend Scott Hirschey, who's blood alcohol test showed he was legally drunk, crashed a snowmobile with Salerno riding on the back. Salerno, who was not intoxicated, was killed when his body hit a tree.

Even though this accident took place in Wisconsin, Salerno's death brought attention to all Midwest laws for operating snowmobiles while intoxicated.  At the time of his death, in Illinois and Wisconsin OWI – operating snowmobiles while intoxicated – and refusing to submit to a breathalyzer was punishable only be a fine.

This year Illinois legislators began working on a bill to deal with snowmobile OWIs.  These laws, amendments to the Illinois Vehicle Code and Snowmobile Registration and Safety Act, would change the penalties for operation of a snowmobile while under the influence so they are similar to the penalties in the Illinois Vehicle Code for DUI. The amendments provide for additional administrative sanctions for operation of a snowmobile while under the influence that are similar to certain administrative sanctions for a DUI violation in the Illinois Vehicle Code.  They would also ban people with active vehicle DUIs from snowmobiling.

After several final action deadline extensions for these amendments, the most recent Illinois Senate action for these amendments was on November 30, 2009, when a House Committee Amendment Motion to Concur was referred to Assignments.

Now the question is, what will happen with Illinois OWI Laws in 2010...?

The entire Illinois Snowmobiling Act may be found in the Illinois Compiled Statutes, Chapter 625. 
For more information visit:  Illinois Legislation Track - OUI-BOAT-SNOW-DRIVERS LICENSE


Anonymous said...

thanks !! very helpful post!

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