Victims and Families Honored at 15th Annual Maryland Remembers Ceremony; Governor to Reintroduce Repeat Drunk Driving Offenders Act
By: The Office of the Governor of the State of Maryland
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today joined with Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel William Pallozzi, Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administrator (MDOT MVA) Christine Nizer, highway safety advocates, and the family members of victims of impaired driving crashes for the 15th Annual Maryland Remembers ceremony. The event honors the lives of those killed on Maryland’s roads by drunk or drugged drivers. About 100 guests filled the State House Rotunda for this special ceremony. Governor Hogan also presented the Kevin Quinlan Award to Dr. Beth Baker, Former Regional Administrator of the National Transportation Highway Safety Administration (NTSHA), for her work and advocacy in preventing impaired driving.
“We are gathered here today to ensure that these loved ones will never be forgotten,” said Governor Hogan. “We are also here because – together – we will never stop fighting to prevent more needless deaths from drunk or drugged driving.”
In the coming legislative session, the Hogan administration will again introduce the Repeat Drunk Driving Offenders Act, which creates a felony offense punishable by up to 10 years for anyone convicted of a drunk or drugged driving offense on three or more prior occasions, as well as anyone convicted of causing a death or a life-threatening injury on their second and/or subsequent offenses.
Maryland Remembers is held at this time each year because impaired driving crashes increase during the holiday season. With individuals traveling to see friends and family from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, it is one of the most dangerous periods for impaired driving deaths. In 2017, more than 19,000 people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, approximately 2,100 of which occurred from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.
“As we continue to focus on the reduction of alcohol-related crashes statewide, troopers are acting by targeting impaired drivers,” said Colonel Pallozzi. “Year-round enforcement efforts aim at motorists who violate the law and jeopardize the safety of our citizens. The Maryland State Police is committed to doing everything within our power to prevent these poor decisions that affect all of us.”
Between 2013 and 2017 in Maryland, more than 800 people were killed and more than 16,400 were injured in a crash where drugs and/or alcohol were involved. Approximately one-third of Maryland’s roadway deaths each year involve impaired driving.
“There is no excuse for choosing to drive impaired,” said Administrator Nizer. “Use rideshare services, call a cab, have a designated driver, or use Maryland’s public transportation. Drive sober because your life and the lives of everyone else on the roadway depend on it, and remember to buckle up every time. It’s the law, and it’s your best defense in a crash.”
Earlier this year, Maryland launched “Be Legendary,” an educational campaign to prevent impaired driving. This effort is a part of an overall strategy to combine enforcement and education in a focused approach to preventing impaired driving. The campaign’s message, “Be Legendary. Sober drivers save lives.” is promoted through digital and social media, outdoor advertising, radio spots, and messaging inside bars and liquor stores.
“Our administration is committed to doing everything we can to prevent future impaired driving crashes and fatalities,” said Governor Hogan. “We must do everything in our power to save lives and to prevent future tragedies, and by working together, we can make a difference and we can save lives.”