New Maryland DUI law going into effect Oct.1

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program announced that starting on October 1, Noah’s Law will go into effect in Maryland.

This law states that all persons convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol in Maryland will be required to equip their vehicle with an in-car breathalyzer, also known as an ignition interlock device.

Noah’s Law was signed by Governor Larry Hogan on May 19.  “Noah’s Law”, or Senate Bill 945, Senator Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery County, was named after late Montgomery County, Maryland Department of Police Officer Noah Leotta who was struck by a drunk driver while on patrol last December and later succumbed to his injuries.

The law specifically mandates ignition interlock devices for a minimum of six months for all persons convicted of DUI in Maryland.

These interlock devices which prevent a vehicle from starting when it detects a certain level of alcohol on the driver’s breath. Officials say the state currently requires such devices for persons convicted of DUI, 21-902[a], with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or higher, are under the age of 21, or had a child in the car at the time of offense.

“The timing of Maryland’s newest DUI law could not be more apt as federal data shows that Maryland posted a more than 22-percent increase in drunk driving deaths last year,” said Kurt Gregory Erickson, President of the Maryland nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program, registered Maryland lobbyist and proponent of Senate Bill 945.

WRAP highlights data released last month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which shows that while alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities increased by 3.2 percent in the U.S. last year, such highway deaths increased in Maryland by 22.3-percent in 2015. Officials go on to note that Maryland recorded the eighth largest jump in DUI deaths amongst all U.S. states last year according to NHTSA figures.

“Noah’s Law” passed both Maryland’s House of Delegates and Senate on unanimous votes earlier in 2016.

When this law goes into effect on Saturday, Maryland’s new “all offender” DUI law has the state join 27 other U.S. states in requiring ignition interlocks for all persons convicted of drunk driving.

The sanction of ignition interlocks for all persons convicted of DUI has been reported to yield the lifesaving dividends of not only a 67-percent drop in DUI recidivism, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control, but also a marked reduction in alcohol-impaired traffic fatalities with states like West Virginia and New Mexico posting 50 and 37-percent declines in such highway deaths in part to laws mandating interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, according to WV since 2008 all-offender enactment; NM since 2005 all-offender enactment; NHTSA data.   

Categories: Crime, Local News, Maryland