Articles Tagged with Maryland DUI

Deaths due to motor vehicle accidents had been decreasing for several years, here in Maryland and across the U.S. However, last year that trend took a turn for the worse — with the deadliest traffic accident fatality statistics seen in decades. The National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) reports that a total 35,092 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2015 — up 7.2 percent compared to 2014. Alcohol-impaired traffic accidents accounted for a significant number of fatalities, with 10,265 deaths resulting from driving under the influence (DUI) crashes in 2015. An average of 28 people a day were killed in DUI motor vehicle accidents in 2016.

A NHTSA spokesperson told CBS News, “We’re seeing these increases that we have not seen in 50 years. It’s tragic.” The government agency is trying to determine why motor vehicle accident fatalities are on the increase, after so many years of progress making our roads and highways safer and saving lives. And despite our state’s traffic safety laws, motor vehicle crash fatality statistics in Maryland are also trending in the wrong direction.

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In May 2016, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed an anti-DUI bill into law aimed at preventing convicted drunk drivers from getting back behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol. “Noah’s Law” was named in memory of Montgomery County Police Officer Noah Leotta, who was struck and killed by a DUI driver as he conducted anti-drunk driving law enforcement over the holiday season.

On Dec. 3, 2015, Officer Leotta made a traffic stop at Rockville Pike and Edmonston Drive in Rockville, Maryland. While outside of his cruiser, he was struck and critically injured by Luis Gustavo Reluzco, 47, whose blood alcohol tested .22 — nearly three times the legal limit. Officer Leotta died a week later from his injuries. He was 24 years old.

The police officer’s death created an outcry from his family, law enforcement officers and concerned citizens for Maryland to get tougher on penalties for drunk drivers and to prevent future DUI-related deaths and injuries. Noah’s Law strives to do that by now requiring anyone convicted of drunk driving in Maryland to use an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.

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