Advocates want drunk driving convictions changed in Maryland and DC

Mothers against Drunk Driving wants Maryland and Washington D.C. to use the ignition interlocking system for first time offenders. Photo: interlocking ignition system/ AP

WASHINGTON, December 18, 2013 —Mothers against Drunk Driving and similar advocates are trying to change the drunk driving laws in Washington D.C. and Maryland. They want interlock systems required for drunk driving offenders.

In many states, including Virginia, all convicted drunk drivers must use an ignition interlock system in order to drive after their first offence. This is not the case in Maryland and Washington D.C.

The interlock system works like a breathalyzer which is installed in the vehicles dashboard. In order for the car to be started the driver will need to blow into the device. If alcohol is detected, the car will not be able to start.

The device randomly requires a second sample as an attempt to prevent someone other than the driver to provide the initial breath to start the engine.

The interlock system became part of drunk driving convictions in Virginia in July 1, 2012.

Efforts to pass legislation similar to Virginia’s in the state of Maryland have failed.

In Washington D.C., the interlock system is part of a drunk driving conviction only for second or subsequent offences.

Advocates believe that this device is a key factor in eliminating drunk drivers.

Supporters of the device plan to try again in 2014 to get the measure passed.


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Susan L Ruth

Susan L. Ruth is a long-time Washington, DC resident with extensive ties throughout the community.  She is a genealogical researcher and writer, and is an active volunteer in the Northern Virginia competitive swimming community.  Susan previously worked providing life-skills to head injured adults. 

Susan and her husband Kerry currently live in Northern Virginia with their three sons, Ryley, Casey and Jack and their American Bulldog, Leila.


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