Surrounded by states that require ignition interlock devices even for a first-time drunk driving conviction, Maryland has tried for seven years to get up to speed. This year seems to be the year that the state will actually join its neighbors in a united front fortified by those trustworthy gadgets. You may have missed it, but the Maryland house passed its ignition interlock bill, and now the Senate is set to consider the same requirement for all drunk drivers in the state.
Right now, Maryland’s ignition interlock requirement only applies to repeat offenders and those with a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level at the time of their arrest. The new law would make sure that all drunk drivers are given the chance to use an ignition interlock in order to prove their sobriety when driving. In exchange, those drivers get to resume their normal responsibilities, like driving to work, managing the transportation needs of their household and making it to various medical and/or legal appointments. There’s a better outcome when a person retains their freedom, and a sober BAC sample isn’t much to pay for that freedom, especially after a DUI.
Let us be the first to congratulate Maryland on taking such a giant leap and increasing the safety of its roads. MADD recently reported that ignition interlock usage has eliminated 1.77 million drunk driving attempts in the U.S. over the last decade – and not even half the states currently require all offenders to use the devices. Imagine how many more incidents can be prevented by interlocks in Maryland and across the U.S.
The next step is to get the state Senate on board with the requirement, as well. Fortunately, that’s pretty easy to do – you can just voice your support of the bill (SB 945) or “Noah’s Law” with your state Senator and the Governor.