April 12, 2016
Contact: Tara Gill, 202-408-1711
STATEMENT OF JACKIE GILLAN, PRESIDENT,
ADVOCATES FOR HIGHWAY AND AUTO SAFETY,
ON SAFETY VICTORY OF MARYLAND LEGISLATURE’S PASSAGE OF
NOAH’S LAW, THE DRUNK DRIVING REDUCTION ACT OF 2016
Advocates Applauds Bill Conferees for Retaining Strong Legislative Language and Passing Lifesaving All-Offender Ignition Interlock Device Law
On behalf of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), I congratulate the Maryland State Legislature on successfully enacting Noah’s Law, House Bill (HB) 1342 sponsored by Delegate Ben Kramer (D) and Senate Bill (SB) 945 sponsored by Senator Jamie Raskin (D). Advocates looks forward to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) signing the bill into law to protect Maryland families from drunk driving repeat offenders. Maryland is set to become the 26th state to require ignition interlock devices (IID) for all offenders. Since 2009, Advocates has been working with MADD and law enforcement to promote passage of an all-offender IID law. From 2009 until 2014 nearly 1,100 people have needlessly died on Maryland’s roadways in alcohol-involved crashes.
Research shows that 50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license. When IIDs are installed, there is approximately a 70 percent reduction in arrest rates for impaired driving (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)). According to MADD’s recent 2016 report, in Maryland, IIDs have stopped 18,491 attempts to drive drunk at blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 per cent or greater and stopped 140,305 drinking and driving occurrences. Nationally, current IID laws have stopped more than 1.77 million attempts to drive drunk.
In January, Advocates’ released our 2016 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws rating states on how well they have done in passing 15 basic highway safety laws. Maryland received a medium grade because it is lacking several important laws including the IID law. Unfortunately, another bill considered this session to upgrade Maryland’s rear seat belt law to primary enforcement passed the House but did not receive a vote in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. Closing this loophole in Maryland’s seat belt law was strongly supported by safety and medical groups, AAA and law enforcement. Next session, Advocates urges the Maryland Legislature to make passage of this critically important bill a top priority.
Advocates also would like to extend our appreciation to the persistent and passionate advocacy of the family of Noah Leotta while grieving the loss of their son, as well as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger, Maryland law enforcement and the many advocates who worked together to push Noah’s Law across the finish line.
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (www.saferoads.org) is a coalition of consumer, public health, medical, safety and insurance organizations working together to improve highway and auto safety laws and policies in Congress, states and Executive branch agencies.