I disagree with the March 11 editorial “Maryland’s drunk-driving enablers.”
Maryland has been at the forefront of the ignition interlock program for many years. As a result of the 2011 legislation on drunken driving, Maryland had 11,334 installed interlocks in 2014, up from 7,768 in 2010. This is the sixth-highest number in the nation. Maryland’s driving under the influence fatalities have decreased from 189 in 2004 to 130 in 2014.
Del. Benjamin F. Kramer (D-Montgomery) congratulated the House Judiciary Committee on a great job with amendments to his bill, H.B. 1342. The Judiciary Committee met with advocates from Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other groups to construct a bill that truly honors Officer Noah Leotta’s memory.
The Judiciary Committee’s amended version of the bill:
●Requires ignition interlocks for drivers convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or who refuse to take an alcohol breath test and are convicted of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
● Increases license suspensions for impaired drivers with higher blood alcohol content.
● Increases the penalties for refusing to take a Breathalyzer test.
● Ensures that in all cases, a person can choose to voluntarily enroll in the ignition interlock program for one year instead of having his or her license be suspended.
The only people to whom our committee is beholden are the people of Maryland. We request that the Maryland General Assembly pass and the governor sign the committee’s amended version of Noah’s Law.
Joseph F. Vallario Jr., Upper Marlboro
The writer, a Democrat from
Prince George’s County, is chairman of the
Maryland House Judiciary Committee.