The governor of the state of Maryland has signed a law requiring all adults caught and convicted of driving while under the influence to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.
The interlock device is targeted to prevent those transporting a child under the age of 16 unless they pass a breath test. The law, while valuable, did not meet with unanimous support in the legislature.
According to research, Maryland police have fined almost 400 individuals during in 2012 for DWI or DUI while carrying a minor passenger. The law could require offenders to use the device for six months.
Police in Maryland reported fatalities related to drunk drivers to account for about one-third of all traffic deaths in 2012. That same year they arrested over 23,000 individuals for drunk driving.
Many in the state agree drinking and driving is a lethal mix, and the laws have reflected increased rigidity towards those driving under the influence. However, the ignition device has not garnered much support in light of advocacy by Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the increase in DUI convictions. Compared to other states with similar laws, Maryland seems to be dragging its feet towards ultimately supporting the bill.
Surveys done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that while viable, the ignition device has not "been used to its full potential." There are still thousands of people stopped for drinking and driving who have not been required to install the device. Others have found their way around its use by using someone else's car.
The message remains clear that efforts are underway to prevent people who drink from getting behind the wheel. A drunk driving charge can mean jail time, loss of license and devastating consequences for the rest of your life. If you have been charged with a DUI in the state of Maryland, you deserve to have the support of a reliable and informed professional who can help in mounting a strong defense in your favor.
Source: Baltimore Sun, "Dancing round DUI's" No author given, May. 20, 2014