Get ready, Washington-area drivers. Maryland has some new driving laws on the books, starting Saturday:
Noah’s Law: Named after Montgomery County police officer Noah A. Leotta, who died after being hit by a drunk driver, the law expands the use of ignition interlock for impaired motorists and significantly increases the driver’s license suspension period. An ignition interlock prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects a certain level of alcohol in the driver’s breath and retests the driver at random points while driving.
The ignition interlocks will be required for anyone convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), driving while impaired (DWI) while transporting someone under the age of 16, driving while intoxicated while also refusing to take an initial breathalyzer test, and committing a homicide or life-threatening injury while driving under the influence or while impaired.
Over the past five years, Maryland officials say, drunk or impaired drivers have been linked to about one-third of all roadway deaths in the state.
Insurance cards: Drivers must have with them or in their vehicle a current insurance identification card issued by their insurance company. The card may be on paper or plastic or in an electronic format. Starting July 1, anyone without a card can be charged a $50 fine.
Historic vehicle registrations: Vehicles may no longer be registered as a historic vehicle if they are used for employment, “commercial purposes,” or commuting to and from a job or school. Also, vehicles with a historic registration that are a model year 1986 or newer may be issued roadside safety equipment repair orders by law enforcement officers.
Trading in leased vehicles: Anyone trading in a leased vehicle to buy or lease another may receive a trade-in allowance toward the “total purchase price” of the new vehicle.
Commercial driver’s licenses: If a commercial driver’s license is canceled solely because the motorist didn’t submit a required certificate showing they’d had a physical exam, the motorist may continue driving under a noncommercial license after the commercial license is automatically downgraded. State officials say this will help commercial drivers continue to drive for noncommercial purposes while they regain their commercial license.