Posted On: December 20, 2012 by Jeff Butschky

Maryland Bill Targets Drunk Drivers Who Transport Minors, Proposes Ignition Locks

What's worse than a drunk driver on Maryland roadways putting themselves and other motorists and pedestrians at risk? A drunk driver with kids in the car. Baltimore County drunk driving accident injury lawyers like us will tell you…motor vehicle crashes caused by alcohol-impaired drivers involving innocent children are some of the most heart-breaking cases we handle.

Maryland State Delegate Sam Arora (D – Montgomery County) would agree – and wants to prevent such reckless behavior from happening by adding teeth to Maryland DUI laws. Mr. Arora is sponsoring a new bill at the Maryland State House that would require drunk drivers caught transporting children while under the influence of alcohol to install an ignition lock device in their vehicles – and check their sobriety every time they attempt to drive.

Maryland House Bill 0032, "Drunk Driving - Transporting Minor - Ignition Interlock System Program," sponsored by Delegate Arora, was pre-filed in the House on Sept. 4, 2012 and is scheduled for First Reading by the Judiciary for Jan. 9, 2013.

Current Maryland drunken driving law does not require drunk drivers to install an ignition interlock device unless they are found to be nearly double over the legal blood alcohol concentration limit at .15 BAC. (The legal limit is .08 BAC.) Arora believes that drunk drivers found with children in the car are putting innocents at risk, and the laws to prevent them from harming children should be tougher.

Arora would like the Maryland drunk driving laws changed to require drunk drivers with a BAC of .08 or more and children in the vehicle to install the ignition interlock breathalyzer device. The device works much as the police dept. breathalyzer test: The suspected drunk driver breathes into the device and it records his or her blood alcohol concentration level. If the level is at or above the legal limit, the driver will not be able to engage the ignition of the vehicle.

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) commended Mr. Aurora for introducing the Maryland bill, and agreed with him that Maryland needs tougher drunk driving laws to protect children. The MADD website states: "In 2011, Maryland mildly improved on their drunk driving law by requiring ignition interlocks for all repeat and first time offenders with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or greater. Maryland could see a significant decline in DUI related deaths, if these devices were required for all offenders."

Maryland is among several states with a DUI Child Endangerment statute on the books, which allows for additional penalties for a drunk driving conviction with a child passenger in a vehicle. Mr. Aurora would like to prevent alcohol impaired drivers in Maryland from ever getting behind the wheel and driving intoxicated with a child in their car or truck again.

He writes on his website: “Driving drunk with a child in the car is beyond reckless, and we have the tools to save lives. There is no better way to protect these children than ensuring that their drivers are sober.”

We couldn't agree more.

Related Maryland Accident Attorney article:

When Police Officers Deliver Tragic News : Someone Has Been Killed in a Maryland Drunk Driving Accident (Oct. 2011)

Sources:

Maryland to Consider Ignition Breathalyzer for Adults Who Drive Children While Drunk
Maryland Delegate Sam Arora website Dec. 19, 2012

HB 0032 Drunk Driving - Transporting Minor - Ignition Interlock System Program
Maryland General Assembly website collected Dec. 19, 2012