Is Maryland Too Lenient With Drunk Drivers?

By Peter DePaolis

civil lawsuits after drunk driving accidentsA recent study conducted by examined DUI penalties according to each state to discover which had the strictest enforcement. As it turns out, Maryland has the seventh most lenient drunk driving enforcement in the country. One of the main reasons Maryland ranked so low in terms of DUI strictness (45th in the nation, to be precise) was because the state ranked as the very last in the category for drunk driving criminal penalties, and its DUI prevention rate was not much better.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, drunk driving is the most common crime across the nation. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), 27 people die each day in America due to drunk driving accidents. In 2014, deaths caused by drunk driving accounted for more than one-third of all traffic fatalities.

That being said, in Maryland and several other states, DUIs are considered misdemeanors under any circumstance.

What Should the State Do to Prevent Drunk Driving Accidents??

Maryland state legislature passed a law this year requiring all convicted DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device. These devices require a driver to blow into a device and analyze the driver’s breath to determine whether there is alcohol in their system. If the device registers alcohol on the driver’s breath, the car will not start. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), interlock devices reduce the likelihood of second-time drunk driving offenses by 67 percent.

While this is a good step for Maryland drivers, more could still be done to prevent drunk driving accidents and discourage repeat offenders. Maryland should implement “zero tolerance” laws, which would make it illegal for all minors to drive with any measurable quantity of alcohol in the system. Additionally, sobriety checkpoints should be implemented. Most importantly, the state should work harder and release more campaigns to educate Maryland residents on the hazards of drunk driving.

The Maryland personal injury attorneys at Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP help those injured in transportation accidents.We offer free consultations – contact us today!

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.