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Maryland lawmakers called out over weak drunk driving penalties

Within the state of Maryland between 2003 and 2012, drunk driving led to the deaths of more than 1,700 people, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Furthermore, Maryland has a higher rate than the national average for people who admit that they drove a car after they consumed too much alcohol. The national average was 1.9 percent while Maryland’s rate was 2.1. When people decide to drink alcohol and then get behind the wheel of a car, the results can be devastating.

Lawmakers in the state were recently called out over what some say are weak penalties that do not encourage people to abstain from driving while under the influence of alcohol. One father pointed out that the drunk driver who caused the death of his son in December would not serve more than 10 years in prison under the current law. The driver was a repeat offender when he hit the victim, who was a police officer in Montgomery County.

Previous attempts have been made to stiffen the state’s laws, but the father blamed one lawmaker’s job as a DUI defense attorney as part of the reason those proposed laws failed to pass. Wearing his son’s police badge around his neck, the father told media members about the lack of response he and his family had seen from the driver of that car, as well as how the driver refused to take any field sobriety test or breath test at the scene. The father also spoke in support of a new law named after his son, which would require the use of an ignition interlock system by all repeat offenders.

Every year, thousands of people are seriously injured or killed in drunk driving accidents. These unexpected events can leave families facing multiple challenges. They may find it helpful to meet with an injury attorney.

Source: Bethesda Magazine, “Father of Police Officer Who Was Killed Calls for Tougher Drunken Driving Laws,” Andrew Metcalf, Feb. 12, 2016

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