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Maryland bill targets drunk driving with children in the car

A Maryland lawmaker is working to increase the penalties for convicted drunk drivers who have one or more children in their car at the time of their DUI arrest. It remains to be seen whether the other members of the state legislature will agree with and pass the bill, which the lawmaker reportedly plans to introduce when the General Assembly reconvenes next month.

Under the bill, drivers who are convicted of DUI or DWI with a child in the car will face additional criminal penalties. Specifically, those drivers will be required to install an Ignition Interlock device in their car and use the device for at least one year, regardless of their blood alcohol level at the time of their arrest.

Currently, Maryland law only requires people with a blood alcohol level of 0.15 percent or higher - nearly double the legal limit of 0.08 percent - to install and maintain Ignition Interlocks.

According to Del. Sam Arora, the state legislator behind the new bill, drunk driving incidents in which children are in the car have increased by 10 percent in the past two years. As such, he says, the goal of the proposed law is to protect children who usually do not have a choice of whether to get in the car with an intoxicated parent or other adult. "Children don't really have a say as to how they are going to get around," he said. "I just think every child deserves a designated driver."

We will continue to update our Annapolis DUI blog as this bill progresses in the legislature.

Source: WAMU, "Maryland Bill Cracks Down On Drunk Drivers With Kids In Cars," Matt Bush, Dec. 21, 2012

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