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Ignition Interlocks Proposed as Part of Tougher Drunk Driving Laws

A tragic December accident that killed a police officer has increased calls to mandate ignition interlock devices for all convicted drunk drivers in Maryland. On December 3, while on the road after pulling over a vehicle, 24-year-old Officer Noah Leotta was struck by a Honda driven by a repeat alcohol-related offender. According to reports, the Honda driver was not sober enough to stand correctly following the collision. Officer Leotta died from his injuries seven days later.

To lower the risk of similar accidents in the future, state legislators are promoting “Noah’s Law,” which would require all motorists convicted of driving while intoxicated to pass a breathalyzer test administered through an ignition interlock device before their car can be started. Some lawmakers have proposed this for several years without success; they hope that the increased attention along with statistics supporting the measure will change things. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD, fatal alcohol-related accidents are cut in half when the devices are required for all violators, even first-time offenders.

Twenty-six states include ignition interlock as a punishment in all DWI/DUI cases. In Maryland, it is currently used as a penalty option for drivers on probation, repeat offenders and motorists with a very high blood alcohol content. Those with suspended licenses due to excess points can get a restricted license with ignition interlock. The program requires them to return to the ignition interlock service provider every 30 days so that the system data can be reviewed. Attempts to destroy or bypass the device, such as by using another car, are also examined by an assigned case manager.

However ignition interlock is used, individuals accused of alcohol-related driving offenses face serious consequences.  If you have been charged with a DUI or DWI in Maryland, contact the attorneys at Mudd, Mudd & Fitzgerald, P.A. in La Plata.

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