Maryland has been fighting to strengthen their ignition interlock device program for seven years without much success, until this week. Yesterday, the state’s House of Delegates passed the proposed interlock bill with a unanimous vote of 136-0.
The bill, named Noah’s Law, is in honor of a Montgomery County Police Officer. Noah Leotta was killed last December while working on a driving-under-the-influence assignment. The person that hit him was a suspected drunk driver with two previous convictions on his record.
Efforts to expand on Maryland’s ignition interlock device program have failed continuously over the past few years, but Leotta’s death created an increasing level of support for something that previously was shaken off as not enough of a problem. Read how other drunk driving victims have inspired stricter drunk driving laws in their states.
The proposed bill would require all drunk driving offenders with a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or above the legal limit of 0.08 to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. Currently, only those with BACs at or above 0.15 are required to an install ignition interlock device.
Delegate Ben Kramer sponsored Noah’s Bill in the House. “The ignition interlock device is the only thing that actually modifies the behavior of drunk drivers when it’s been put on their car for at least six months,” Kramer said in a WBOC news article.
Noah’s Law would also inflict additional penalties on drivers who refuse to take a breath test at the time they are pulled over. Currently, those refusing a breath test face a license suspension of 120 days. The proposed law would increase the time of suspension to 270 days. In addition, if the driver refuses to submit to a breath test, they could opt into the ignition interlock program to regain driving privileges.
Currently, 25 states require ignition interlock devices for all drunk driving offenders. Studies have consistently shown that when all-offender laws are implemented, the number of drunk driving deaths in the state drastically declines, as revealed in Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s (MADD) 2016 Ignition Interlock Device Report.
Learn more about how Intoxalock Ignition Interlock devices help over 90,000 people legally regain driving privileges each year after a drunk driving conviction. Call us today at (855) 531-5244.