Legal Guide

Noah’s Law Leads To Tougher Drunk Driving Laws In Maryland

There are not many people in the US who would argue that driving while under the influence or while intoxicated, is a safe practice, nor would many oppose the strict laws in place. Unfortunately, even with massive campaigns and strict DUI laws across the nation, DUI continues to take the lives of thousands per year across the US.

Maryland last week took steps to make the drunk-driving laws more severe and punishing. A new law recently took effect that requires anyone convicted of DUI to install and use in-vehicle breathalyzers.

The new law called “Drunk Driving Reduction Act of 2016” requires that anyone who is found guilty of drinking while under the influence of alcohol, be required to have a breathalyzer installed in their car. An ignition interlock will prevent a drunk driver from using their car if the breathalyzer detects any alcohol in their system.

The device was created to prevent a vehicle from starting if the person operating it, has a specific amount of alcohol in their system according to the driver’s breath. Once alcohol has been identified, the driver must take periodic retests at various points, while they are driving, to ensure that they didn’t simply have someone else breathe into the device before getting behind the wheel.

The new law termed “Noah’s Law” was passed in honor of Noah Leotta, a Montgomery County police officer who lost his life when he was struck by a DUI repeat offender. He died when a drunk driver crashed into his car in December of 2015, at a traffic stop. The reason that state officials wanted to make it a bill, not a law, is because they wanted to ensure its immediate passage and also to pay homage to a police officer, who, if the law were passed previously, would still be alive today.

The Houston bus accident lawyer team confirms that the statistics indicate that as many as one-thirds of all roadway accidents in the previous five years have been tied to impaired drivers in the state of Maryland. This means that there have been over 7800 crashes leading to 171 deaths and 4000 plus injuries all tied to impaired drivers. That is simply not acceptable. Showing a huge problem with non-compliance, Maryland felt that it was time to give the DUI laws, a little more control over stopping impaired drivers, especially those who have been convicted in the past.

The new law makes it mandatory for judges to implement a breathalyzer in the form of an interlock device to a person’s car once they have been found guilty of driving while impaired. Also, if they refuse to submit to an initial test, they also will be subject to having a device placed in their car going forward.

The breathalyzers installed, look similar to walkie-talkie devices. When a driver wants to start the ignition, they must first breathe into the device. If it detects a blood alcohol level of .025 or greater, then the vehicle will not start. Once they have passed the test, they can drive, but will be given several checks along the way. Every ten minutes they will be required to blow into the machine for the car to continue to run. If they fail to blow or don’t pass a retest, the car will begin to sound a horn and in some cases, flash lights.

Like being on parole, if after a specified amount of time, the driver can demonstrate that they haven’t failed the breathalyzer test and the ignition interlock has not be initiated, then they can receive their license back. If monthly reviews show a series of lockouts or that the device has attempted to be tampered with, the offenders will be placed on probation or parole on a case by case basis.

Whether the new device will help to curb the incidence of driving while impaired deaths and injuries in Maryland will quickly be seen. If it stops just one person from losing their life, then it is well worth the effort. Repeat offenders are a serious problem, and until they are stopped, streets will continue to be plagued by those who decide to play, with the equivalent of a loaded weapon, when they get behind the wheel of their car.

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