In Maryland and across the country 10,322 people lost their lives in accidents involving drivers that got behind the wheel after drinking in 2012. If this year follows the pattern set in prior years, the number of deaths due to drinking and driving could reach 900 in the period from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. In an effort to lower recidivism rates for DUI, 20 states now require every convicted drunk driver to install an ignition interlock device in his or her vehicle.
What was already a dangerous situation could have been infinitely worse for one Maryland woman. She was driving under the influence when she drove on some train tracks she mistook for a road. After pleading guilty to drunk driving, the woman received probation and prosecutors dismissed additional charges originally filed against her.
On Jan. 22, police were called to the scene of a single car accident. When they arrived, they found a severely damaged vehicle in the front yard of a residence and a man near the vehicle in the grass. The preliminary investigation into this Maryland DUI-related death led to the arrest of the driver on several felony counts.
During the holidays, the number of DUI checkpoints around the country generally rises. However, there is some doubt in Maryland and elsewhere about the feasibility and effectiveness of these checkpoints. The DUI arrest numbers may not substantiate the cost.