Maryland has had a reputation for being far too lenient on drunk driving, especially compared with neighboring Virginia and DC. In fact, a recent evaluation of all 50 states put Maryland in the lowest ranks in the entire country for DUI prevention. By evaluating the amount of jail time for a Maryland DUI, the number of charges that trigger a felony DUI designation, and the process for an ignition interlock requirement, states like Maryland are finding their current laws may need a little refining in order to keep up with those at the top of the list.
However, the Maryland DUI reputation and ranking may change on October 1.
This year, Maryland passed Noah’s Law, requiring ignition interlock devices for all DUI offenses and for refusing a breathalyzer test. Currently, the law allows first-time DUI offenders the option to install the device in order to reinstate their driver’s license, but without the requirement, many are waiting out their suspension or driving illegally. Ignition interlock devices are not only preventative tools against DUI, but they also help create new habits when it comes to drinking and driving. Once Noah’s Law is fully in effect and enforced, the entire state of Maryland can breathe a little easier and worry a little less about drunk drivers.
A state with a reputation for being tough on drunk driving is one of the best rankings to strive for. Maryland is one of a handful of states that took charge of that reputation and made changes to its laws in order to save the lives of people in the state. Just as an ignition interlock can bring about a shift in behavior, Maryland is making changes within its borders, and also giving other states a picture of how effective DUI laws can save lives.