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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 30, 2000

PUPILLOMETER TO BE TESTED AS TOOL TO MEASURE DRIVER IMPAIRMENT

SPRINGFIELD - Governor George H. Ryan today signed legislation establishing a pilot program designed to test the effectiveness of pupillometers as tools to detect and measure possible impairment of Illinois motorists.

Under the provisions of Senate Bill 1626, the Illinois State Police will be authorized to use pupillometers over the course of the next 18 months on consenting motorists to measure fatigue or impairment by drugs or alcohol.

"Pupillometers have the potential to be real assets to the law enforcement community," Ryan said. "If these devices perform as expected, we are on the brink of a major advance in the way we approach highway safety."

Pupillometers are instruments currently used by many health care professionals to test pupil dilation and the eye's reaction to light. The devices, which resemble binoculars, measure the width and diameter of the pupil and its reaction time to a flashing light. State Police will purchase up to 15 pupillometers and use them to detect irregularities in the eye brought on by fatigue, alcohol or drugs only if the officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that person is operating a vehicle while impaired.

After the 18-month pilot project, State police will file a report detailing the results of the project with the President of the Illinois Senate and the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives.



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