Fatal crashes down in Illinois 20 years after .08 law

SPRINGFIELD (AP) – Illinois is marking the 20th anniversary of legislation that lowered the drunken driving limit to .08 blood-alcohol concentration.

State officials said Friday that since the law was enacted, alcohol-impaired motor vehicle crash fatalities in Illinois have fallen by about 43 percent.

In 1996, the year before the law took effect, 534 people died in crashes involving at least one driver who was at or above the .08 level. In 2015, about 300 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes in Illinois.

The law lowering Illinois’ DUI threshold took effect July 2, 1997. Illinois was the 15th state to enact such a law. Today, all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have a legal limit of .08 or lower.