A tough new law has recently gone into effect in the state of Maryland. As of Oct. 1, 2016, Maryland residents who have been convicted of DUI must now install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles. The new law is part of the state's Drunk Driving Reduction Act of 2016 and will hopefully help reduce the volume of drunk driving accidents in Maryland.
If you do not already know, an ignition interlock device requires the driver to breathe into the device before attempting to start the vehicle's engine. If the device detects a certain amount of alcohol on the user's breath, the vehicle will not start. The interlock device will also require the user to retest his or her breath at random intervals while operating the motor vehicle.
This piece of legislation has been called "Noah's Law" in honor of police officer, Noah Leotta, who lost his life when a "repeat drunk-driving offender" struck him during a traffic stop. Officer Leotta's father spoke to reporters recently saying that the legislation will help prevent other families from suffering the loss of loved ones.
According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, alcohol-impaired drivers were a factor in about one third of the state's roadway fatalities for the past five years. Specifically, the figures indicate that alcohol played a role in 171 deaths and more than 4,000 injuries during the same five year period. Judges are now required to make the interlock program a part of the sentencing process for those convicted of DUI.
Like personal injury and wrongful death suits for drunk driving accident victims, the new law cannot heal all wounds. However, it can offer peace of mind knowing the state has added a powerful new tool to its arsenal of preventive measures against DUI accidents.
Source: ABC News, "Tough Drunk-Driving Law Takes Effect in Maryland," Morgan Winsor, Oct. 01, 2016