How Many Will Be Hurt Before DUI Penalties Will Be Stiffened?


Car Accident A recent car accident involving a mother and her three young children rattled a community in Maryland.

WMDT of ABC News reports that a mother, Barbara Sellner, 41, was driving under the influence of alcohol when her minivan swerved off Cordova Road in Talbot County and struck a tree. While it’s unclear whether the children were wearing the proper restraints, all four family members were transported to Easton Memorial Hospital for treatment.

Unfortunately, Sellner’s three-year-old child received the most life-threatening injuries and had to be moved to Johns Hopkins Surgical Center for the treatment.

After being issued a Field Sobriety Test, Sellner was arrested and eventually charged with causing life-threatening injury while operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and transporting a minor.

With more than 1.4 million people arrested for first time DUI offenses every year, even more minor charges like driving while impaired have been on the rise.

In fact, WAMU 88.5 of American University reports that two recent drunk driving accidents in Montgomery County may be the final straw in urging Maryland lawmakers to stiffen penalties for DUI offenses.

Last month, county police officer Noah Leotta was struck by a suspected drunk driver while, ironically, conducting a DUI patrol. A week later, Leotta died from his injuries.

As a result, a Maryland bill named “Noah’s Law” will be pushed at a nearby General Assembly session. The legislation will require that all first-time DUI offenders have an ignition interlock device in their vehicles which will require them to pass a breathalyzer test before their car will start.

States with similar legislation already in place have seen decreases in drunk driving incidents.

“Being able to drive is a privilege and not a right,” said Police Captain Tom Didone. “By adding the interlock device to their vehicle, we’re still enabling them to live their life and be successful, productive citizens of the world.”

Two teens were also killed in a DUI related car accident back in June when riding with two other underage youths coming back from a party.

To make things more unsettling, a father and owner of the house where the party was held allowed the alcohol to be served. However, he only received a fine of $5,000, while the driver was charged in the case.

Another bill will be introduced aimed at instituting jail time and double the fines for parents who give alcohol to minors at parties to help prevent these situations in the future.

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