Maryland Set to Toughen Drunk Driving Laws

More than half of all fatal car collisions involve drivers impaired by alcohol. According to the Centers for Disease control, that equals out to approximately 30 people per day dying in an alcohol-related motor vehicle collision. This year, the state of Maryland is determined to make life more difficult for those who drink and drive.

Last week, the Judiciary Committee of the Maryland House of Representatives passed “Noah’s Law,” a new, tougher DWI law whose primary feature is the increased use of Ignition Interlock Devises.

Supporters, including the personal injury and accident law firm of Zukerberg & Halperin, PLLC hope the new law will reduce the tragic loss of life due to driving impaired by alcohol. Maryland Governor, Larry Hogan, said he would sign the new law when it reaches his desk. Maryland Senate President, Mike Miller, also stated that he supports the legislative changes.

Drunk driving not only puts other motorists at risks, but creates an unreasonable risk to the life and health of passengers, pedestrians and cyclists.

Maryland, like most states, considers a blood alcohol level about 0.08% or higher to be driving under the influence (DUI). Between 0.04% and 0.08% a driver may be considered driving while impaired (DWI). Neither is safe. The safest rule is never to get behind the wheel of a car if you have been consuming alcohol.

Ignition Interlock Devices (IID) are breathalyzers installed in private vehicles which require the operator to blow into a mouthpiece before starting the car. Under current Maryland law, an IID is required only if the driver’s blood alcohol level exceeds 0.15% – almost twice the legal limit.

“Noah’s Law” would reduce the threshold for ignition interlock to the DUI floor, 0.08%. Noah’s Law is named in honor of Noah Leotta, a well-respected Montgomery County police officer killed by a suspected drunk driver in Rockville, Maryland in December 2015.

Neighboring Virginia requires ignition-interlock devices after a 1st offense for DUI as a condition of a “restricted license” – a license which allows you to drive to-and- from work, school, church and medical appointments. Second offenses in VA require IID for 6 months on every vehicle owned or registered to the impaired driver.

Washington, DC also has an ignition-interlock program, if certain strict requirements are met.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a drunk or impaired driver in Maryland, Virginia or the District of Columbia, the accident law firm of Zukerberg & Halperin, PLLC is ready to help.

Call for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced trial lawyers today.