Concerned Advocates Against Impaired Driving Support Strengthening Noah’s Law
H.B. 557 will be heard by House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 23rd
S.B. 653 introduced last week
February 8, 2022
Leading anti-drunk driving organizations including Noah on Patrol, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP), Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and Responsibility.org announced their unified support today for Maryland lawmakers to adopt new legislation that strengthens Maryland’s DUI law and prevents crashes, deaths, and injuries.
House Bill 557 and Senate Bill 653 would require all first-time drunk drivers in Maryland to install an ignition interlock device. In Maryland, 14,170 people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in 2020. According to the Maryland Department of Legislative Services Fiscal and Policy Note, during this time nearly 6,000 first-time DUI offenders were spared a DUI conviction by receiving probation before judgment and therefore were not required to install a lifesaving ignition interlock device on their vehicle. Studies show that the best way to keep our roads safe is to require an ignition interlock after the first offense. Passage of HB 557 and SB 653 would require interlocks for the individuals who receive probation before judgment, helping to change behaviors, prevent recidivism, and keep everyone on the roads in Maryland safe.
“While the passage of Noah’s Law in 2016 was a significant step in the right direction, the law did not go far enough. In order to maximize the lifesaving benefits of this technology, it must apply to first-time DUI offenders,” said Chris Swonger, president and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) and Responsibility.org. “One life lost is one too many, and today we join our partners in supporting legislation to correct this technicality and make ignition interlock devices truly mandatory for every DUI offender in the state.”
Maryland passed Noah’s Law in 2016 in honor of Montgomery County Police Officer Noah Leotta, who died a week after being struck by an impaired driver while working on his department’s annual Holiday Alcohol Task Force.
“Noah’s law was designed to prevent first-time impaired drivers from driving impaired again in the future, however, each year nearly 5,000 impaired drivers who are arrested and plead guilty receive PBJ which does not carry an interlock requirement, creating a public safety risk that we must address,” said Rich Leotta, Noah’s father and founder of Noah on Patrol. “I hope lawmakers understand how important it is to ensure that ignition interlocks are mandatory for every drunk driver in Maryland and support this legislation. Noah’s Law can be a model for the rest of the country.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol-impaired drivers got behind the wheel about 147 million times in 2018 and 12.6 million Americans reported driving under the influence of marijuana or other illicit drugs in 2018.
For more information, please visit www.responsibility.org.