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Illinois considers prison sentences for uninsured drivers

An Illinois law approved by the state senate would impose stiff penalties -- up to a year in jail -- for uninsured drivers who cause an accident.

Called the Michael Dean law, after a man who was killed in a 2006 accident with a driver without auto insurance, the bill must be signed by Illinois governor Pat Quinn before taking effect.

Under current law, uninsured drivers face up to a $500 fine, but there are no additional penalties for uninsured drivers who cause an injury or death in an accident.

The new law, if passed, would subject uninsured motorists who injure another person to Class A misdemeanor charges. Those convicted would be eligible for up to a year in jail.

The driver who killed Dean received "a slap on the wrist," said state senator Gary Forby, according to Pentagraph.com. "This legislation will hold uninsured drivers responsible for an accident."

Dean was a high school teacher and a radio sports personality, broadcasting high school football and basketball games.

His father said he was assured by the governor's office that the governor would sign the bill into law, the Marion Daily Republican reported.

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