Illinois DUI laws are tough, including all-offender ignition interlock laws, high fines and other consequences. Victim impact panels are some of those additional consequences, bringing a personal edge to any drunk driving conviction. In many cases, court fines, jail time, community service and a suspended license aren’t enough to get a person out of a habitual drunk driving problem. Ignition interlock devices prevent drunk driving, but only as long as the devices are installed.
MADD recommends DUI victim impact panels so that drunk drivers are able to face those who have been hurt. By connecting with other victims, hearing their stories, DUI drivers are less likely to make the same mistake ever again. It also gives those victims, their families and loved ones a chance to heal, facing those who caused so much harm in their lives and finally having a chance to voice their feelings.
For many reasons, the victims of drunk driving incidents are often nameless, while the drunk driver seems to get more of the focus. When a person is in any traumatic situation, providing a means for that healing is vital to their mental health. Victims don’t get alcohol abuse programs or mental health assistance, just memories of the incident and the damage that occurred.
Ignition interlock devices may effectively stop the impulse to drink and drive and change habits over time, but combined with Illinois DUI impact panels, there’s no better way to get a drunk driver to understand the error of their ways. If a person is faced with the person or people that they harmed, even if unintentionally, they may think twice about ever drinking and driving in the first place. Victim impact panels drive home the point about drinking and driving in a much more personal way than any court hearing or community service program ever could.