Maryland is boosting penalties for impaired driving. 
 -  Photo via U.S. Air Force.

Maryland is boosting penalties for impaired driving.

Photo via U.S. Air Force.

A new law went into effect in Maryland on Oct. 1 that imposes harsher jail time penalties on motorists who kill or injure someone while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, reports WTOP.

Under the Repeat Drink Driving Offenders Act, anyone convicted of vehicular homicide while under the influence can get a maximum of five years in prison. That’s up from the current three year maximum.

In addition, the new law doubles prison time from five to 10 years for drivers with prior convictions, notes the report.

The measure also mandates stiffer punishments for impaired drivers convicted of traveling with someone under 18 in the vehicle. Specifically, those convicted could spend one year in jail for the first offense, and two years for the second violation.

In Maryland, the threshold for a Driving Under the Influence or DUI offense is driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher, notes WTOP. A Driving While Impaired charge or DWI involves a blood alcohol level of 0.04 to 0.08.

Nationwide, 10, 874 people lost their lives due to a drunk driver in 2017 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Nearly 30 people a day were killed in drunk-driving crashes that year.

Moreover, in 2017, 21.4 million people aged 16 or older admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year and 12.8 million said they drove under the influence of illicit drugs, according to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

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