Advocates For Highway And Auto Safety Want Maryland To Increase Drunk Driver Penalties

In an effort to promote highway safety, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety are asking the Maryland General Assembly to increase the penalties for “super-drunk” drivers—drivers with a BAC level over twice the legal limit.

The national organization says Maryland is one of sixteen states that it has marked “green” because of the state’s model highway safety laws. According to Jackie Gillan, vice president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, however, Maryland is a “fading green” because the state didn’t made a lot of progress in passing new safety bills in 2006.

The advocacy group wants states to create laws that provide more severe penalties—such as license revocation, mandatory installation of safety devices, and license revocation—against drivers that test with a 0.15 percent or higher blood alcohol content level.

The NHTSA says that nearly 60 percent of drunk driver-related fatalities involve drivers with extremely high BAC levels. offers the following drunk driving statistics:

· The 16,694 fatalities in alcohol-related crashes during 2004 represent an average of one alcohol-related fatality every 31 minutes.

· NHTSA estimates that alcohol was involved in 39 percent of fatal crashes and in 7 percent of all crashes in 2004.

· In 2004, 21 percent of the children age 14 and younger who were killed in motor vehicle crashes were killed in alcohol-related crashes.

· An estimated 248,000 people were injured in crashes where police reported that alcohol was present — an average of one person injured approximately every 2 minutes.

· The rate of alcohol involvement in fatal crashes is more than 3 times higher at night than during the day (60% vs. 18%).

· The highest percentage of drivers in fatal crashes who had BAC levels of .08 or higher was for males and drivers ages 21 to 24.

· The percentages of drivers with BAC levels of .08 or higher in fatal crashes in 2004 were 27% for motorcycle operators, 22% for passenger cars, and 21% for light trucks. The percentage of drivers with BAC levels .08 or higher in fatal crashes was the lowest for large trucks (1%).

· In 2004, 85 percent (11,791) of the 13,952 drivers with BAC of .01 or higher who were involved in fatal crashes had BAC levels at or above .08, and 51 percent (7,084) had BAC levels at or above .16. The most frequently recorded BAC level among drinking drivers involved in fatal crashes was .18.

The Advocates For Highway And Auto Safety say that they want Maryland to extend the number of nighttime hours that teenagers with provisional hours are prohibited from driving. The group also want children ages 6-8 to be included in the state’s booster seat requirement.

If you have lost a loved one who has been injured due to the negligence of a drunken driver, or if you have been severely injured because of a drunk driver, contact the personal injury law firm of Lebowitz and Mzhen. We represent clients in Maryland and the Washington D.C. area. Contact Lebowitz and Mzhen today to schedule a free consultation.

Md. urged to harden drunken driving laws, Balitimore, January 9, 2007
2004 Drunk Driving Statistics,

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Drunk Driving Facts,
Personal Injury,

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