Effective Oct. 1, all persons convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol in the state will be mandated to equip their vehicle with an in-car breathalyzer otherwise known as an ignition interlock device.
Signed into law by Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on May 19, “Noah’s Law” (Senate Bill 945, Sen. Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery County) — and named after late Montgomery County, Maryland Department of Police Officer Noah Leotta who was struck by a drunk driver while on patrol last December and later died from his injuries — mandates ignition interlock devices for a minimum of six months for all persons convicted of DUI in Maryland. The state currently mandates such devices (which prevent a vehicle from starting when it detects a certain level of alcohol on the driver’s breath) for persons convicted of DUI (21-902[a]) with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher, are under the age of 21 or had a child in the car at the time of offense.
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that while alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities (involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a BAC of .08 g/dL or greater) increased by 3.2 percent in the U.S. last year, such highway deaths increased in Maryland by 22.3-percent in 2015. Maryland recorded the eighth largest jump in DUI deaths amongst all U.S. states last year according to NHTSA figures.
“Noah’s Law” passed both Maryland’s House of Delegates and Senate on unanimous votes earlier this year.