Last week, the Maryland House unanimously passed a bill that would toughen penalties for anyone convicted of drinking and driving with a child passenger in the car. If passed by the Senate, the House-approved bill would require anyone convicted of drinking and driving with a passenger under the age of 16 to install an ignition interlock device for 6 months.
Under the state’s current DUI child endangerment laws, anyone convicted of drinking and driving with a passenger under the age of 18 faces a fine of $2,000 to $4,000 and 2 to 4 years in jail, depending on the offender’s previous child DUI endangerment offenses, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). If the new bill is passed, offenders would still face the current consequences for DUI child endangerment.
Maryland’s current ignition interlock law only requires first-time DUI offenders with a BAC of 0.15 or higher and repeat offenders to install an interlock. First-time offenders must keep the device installed for at least one year while repeat offenders must keep the device installed for 1 to 3 years.
The bill now moves on to the Senate. Here at Car Breathalyzer Help, we fully support the use of ignition interlocks as effective tools for saving lives and reducing drunk driving. We applaud Maryland lawmakers for not only requiring most drunk drivers to use interlocks but for also considering them for drunk drivers who put children in danger. We hope that the Maryland Senate will follow the House’s lead and pass this expanded ignition interlock bill.