Noah's Law Goes into Effect this Weekend - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Noah's Law Goes into Effect this Weekend

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A DUI Ignition Interlock Device. (WBOC/Tom Lehman) A DUI Ignition Interlock Device. (WBOC/Tom Lehman)

SALISBURY, Md. - A new law in Maryland requiring anyone convicted of driving under the influence to install an ignition interlock device in their motor vehicle goes into effect on Saturday.

The Drunk Driving Reduction Act of 2016, nicknamed "Noah's Law," is aimed at reducing the number of deaths and injuries that result from crashes involving impaired drivers. The legislation was passed by the Maryland General Assembly and then signed by Gov. Larry Hogan (R) in May.

The law is named after Montgomery County Police Officer Noah Leotta, who was hit by a vehicle operated by a drunk driver while conducting a traffic stop involving a suspected impaired driver.

Lt. Timothy Robinson with the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office said Noah's Law is a positive step because it can prevent someone who is intoxicated from getting behind the wheel and harming or killing someone else.

"All you need to do is talk to a family member that's lost a loved one. The pain never leaves them," he said.

The interlock devices use a breath test to determine if a person has been consuming alcohol. If the person's blood alcohol concentration is determined to be above a certain limit, then the vehicle won't start.

Frank Roberts, who works for Salisbury Stereo and Remote Start, is contracted to install the devices. He said drivers also have to submit breath samples for random tests while driving the vehicle. 

"They couldn't just have someone sober blow into the device and expect to be able to drive home without being tested," he said.

Under Noah's law, people convicted with driving while impaired with a minor under the age of 16, driving while impaired with a breathalyzer test refusal, and homicide or life-threatening injury by motor vehicle while driving under the influence or while impaired, would also have to have an interlock device installed in their vehicle.

Drivers can be charged with driving while impaired if they have a blood alcohol concentration between .04 and .08. A BAC of .08 or higher meets the criteria for DUI.

Officials said roughly a third of all deaths on Maryland roadways involve impaired driving. On average, the state says there are 7,884 crashes involving impaired drivers with 171 deaths and 4,026 injuries each year.

Alyssa Whitson of Maryland said she thinks it's the new restrictions are a good idea.

"It's safer and it's good for people who are walking outside and stuff by themselves," she said.

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