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Sen. Robert A. “Bobby” Zirkin, D-Baltimore County, hugs Marcia Goldman, mother of Noah Leotta, a police officer who was killed while stopping a suspected drunken driver, as Noah’s father, Richard Leotta, looks on. “Noah’s Law” would expand the use of ignition interlcok devices for people convicted of driving drunk. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

Md. General Assembly passes bill expanding ignition-interlock use

ANNAPOLIS – The General Assembly on Monday night passed legislation that would expand the use of ignition interlock devices for people convicted of driving drunk.

The interlock devices prevent vehicle ignitions from working unless the motorist passes a breath test for sobriety.

Under a 2011 law, the devices are required on the cars of Marylanders who were convicted of drunken-driving with blood alcohol concentrations of 0.15. The legislation that awaits Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature or veto would expand the use of interlock devices for individuals convicted of drunken driving with a BAC of .08, the state’s minimum standard for being legally drunk.

The bill would also require that ignition interlocks to be placed on the vehicles of motorists who refuse a police officer’s request to take a breath test for intoxication have an ignition interlock installed on their vehicles.

The measure, dubbed “Noah’s Law,” passed the Senate and House without any nay votes cast.

The legislation, Senate Bill 945, is named in memory of Montgomery County police officer Noah Leotta, 24, who was struck and killed in December by a suspected drunken driver during a traffic stop involving another motorist. Leotta was on a police task force that enforced laws against drunken driving.

Luis Gustavo Reluzco, the suspected drunk driver, has been charged with negligent manslaughter in Leotta’s death.

Sen. Robert A. “Bobby” Zirkin, D-Baltimore County and chair of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, called passage of the legislation he co-sponsored a “fitting tribute” to Leotta’s family, who urged lawmakers to pass the measure.