O’Malley: Yes to Ignition Locks for Drunk Drivers

Governor backs the requirement for first-timers

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    Gov. Martin O’Malley said he will sign into law a bill that requires first-time drunk drivers to install ignition locking systems.

    Right now, drunk drivers could be ordered by a judge to install the ignition lock system, but it’s not an automatic requirement.

    Under the ignition lock measure, drunk drivers are required to install the system if they are convicted of drunk driving or given probation after being charged.

    Plus, the driver would have to pay for the cost of the system, which runs up to $200 for installation and a monthly rental fee that can run up to $100.

    In order to start the car, the driver must first blow into the device. It’s mounted on the dashboard. If the driver’s breath alcohol is above a certain level, the car will not start.

    Drunk drivers have to keep the device for six months on their first violation, a year for a second violation and three years for a third violation.

    Also, O’Malley wants to ban drivers from reading text messages. Last year’s measure still allows Maryland drivers to read but not send.