When Maryland passed Noah’s Law, requiring all offenders to install ignition interlocks in any vehicle he or she drives, anti-drunk driving advocates must have felt a sense of relief. The fight they had waged to bring stiffer penalties to drunk drivers in the state had finally been won, bu the battle to ensure ignition interlock compliance is just beginning.
Just because your state requires ignition interlocks for all offenders doesn’t mean that all offenders will use them as mandated. Some will install the device and try to get others to blow into them to start the vehicle, while others will avoid the install completely and hope they’re never stopped while driving on a suspended license. These situations are just a few of the reasons why all Maryland ignition interlocks will bear a sticker with the face of Officer Noah Leotta.
Officer Noah Leotta was struck while he was working at a drunk driving checkpoint in December of 2015. He died a week later from his injuries, and from that point on his family and anti-drunk driving advocates fought to bring Maryland ignition interlocks to all offenders. Noah’s Law, also known as The Drunk Driving Reduction Act of 2016, went into effect on October 1st, 2016.
Although other states have passed similar laws, it’s fairly well known that, after the law is passed, most will struggle with interlock penalty compliance. New York state has publicized a mere 21% compliance rate in one county, and 27% in others.
That’s why Leotta’s family wasn’t content to sit back and hope that Maryland offenders make the smart choice and actually use the devices. They decided to add a humanizing touch to each interlock distributed in Maryland by putting a sticker of Officer Leotta on them. They’re hoping that the sticker will remind the offender why they have the interlock in the first place.
Will the sticker work? Time will tell, but even if that sticker only stops a handful of offenders from making a wrong decision when it comes to drinking and driving, it will be worth the effort.