In Maryland, there is a new bill that proposes the automatic six-month driver’s license suspension of any underage driver who is convicted of the illegal possession of alcohol. It would also then take the offender six more months than usual to get his or her license back. According to Maryland State Highway Administrator Neil Pederson, there are studies that indicate that “use and lose” laws compel young drivers to change their behavior so they don’t risk losing their driving privileges.
Another bill addresses the issue of Probation Before Judgment, which lets someone avoid a conviction and accompanying penalty points if he or she fulfills the terms of probation or the required treatment. The proposal would let people arrested and charged with drunk driving to be eligible for probation before a court judgment every 10 years rather than the current every 5 years.
A third bill calls for making it mandatory for Maryland police to ask any driver involved in a catastrophic or fatal auto crash to take a drunk driving test. This information would not be admissible in court but it would allow researchers to determine the role alcohol or drugs play in deadly motor vehicle accidents. Motorists, however, would not be punished for refusing to take the test. Currently, law enforcement officers are supposed to conduct drunk driving tests following serious auto accidents only when they believe a motorist was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
According to Washington Regional Alcohol Program President Kurt Erickson, about 220 people a year died in drunk driving accidents between 2004 and 2007.
Drunk driving is a leading cause of motor vehicle deaths in the United States. The more state and federal governments can do to discourage people from getting behind the wheel and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs the better.
In the event that you or someone you love was injured by a Maryland drunk driver, you may be entitled to receive personal injury compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Safety Activists Hopeful About Drunken Driving Bills, Washington Post, February 12, 2009
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