In a matter of weeks after Virginia began enforcing one of the toughest drunk driving laws in the U.S., federal officials are finalizing plans to persuade other states to do the same, including Maryland and Washington D.C. As reported by The Washington Post, Virginia is one of 17 states that requires first time drunk drivers to equip their vehicle with an ignition interlock device, which is a device that prevents drivers from hitting the road if they have had too much alcohol. Advocacy groups applaud this measure as federal data indicates drunk drivers involved in fatal DUI (driving under the influence) accidents were four times more likely to have a prior DUI conviction than sober drivers.
Presently, MD only requires use of this device for repeat offenders and those well over the .08 percent blood alcohol level but has not moved to require them for first time DUI convictions. The administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is now offering $20.8 million in highway safety funds as incentive to states for requiring the device for all individuals convicted of the crime, adding that he feels it is the “best overall policy.” The president of the Washington Regional Alcohol Program also notes that interlock programs help with the DUI “core audience,” which is males ages 21-35.
He explains this group in particular should be hit with a strong law enforcement message as they are typically resistant to standard anti-drunk driving campaigns.
The cost of installing an ignition interlock device and paying for the monitoring service that sends reports to the state varies, but on average it is around $75 for installation and $70 per month for monitoring, with the costs falling on the driver. Data from the NHTSA shows that 154 people in MD lost their lives in 2010 due to drunk driving crashes.
Being convicted of a DUI charge in Maryland can mean a person will face serious penalties, including hefty fines and license suspension. As the laws regarding DUI penalties may only get stricter, the need for outstanding legal representation is crucial for anyone facing such charges. If you are in need of professional assistance with your DUI case, please contact a Montgomery County drunk driving defense lawyer at the law firm of Alpert Schreyer. Call (866) 444-6363 for a free case evaluation.