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Leggett Calls For Tougher Drunk Driving Laws

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) made a personal appeal today to the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee to support legislation aimed at reducing drunk driving.

In a letter to Del. Joseph Vallario (D-Prince George's), Leggett recounts how he and his wife were hit Sunday night by an allegedly repeat drunk driver. He asks Vallario to back legislation that would make the use of interlock ignition devices mandatory for all convicted drunk drivers.

"Had this driver's sentence included the use of an Ignition interlock device, I would perhaps not be writing you this letter today because the crash that I experienced may not have occurred," Leggett said.

Under current law, judges have discretion to require the breathalyzer devices, which are connected to a vehicle's ignition. The driver must be sober in order to start the vehicle's engine.

Advocates for tougher drunk driving laws asked Leggett to testify at a hearing today, but he was still resting at home and not expected to return to the office until Monday, according to spokesman Patrick Lacefield.

Leggett and his wife, Catherine, were hit late Sunday night when the suspected drunk driver failed to stop at a red light at the intersection of Sandy Spring Road and Route 29 in Burtonsville. Police arrested Kendall Sterling Smith of Wheaton after they said he failed a series of sobriety tests. Court records show that Smith was sentenced to probation in August, after pleading guilt to attempting to drive while under the influence of alcohol.

By Ann Marimow  |  March 5, 2009; 1:28 PM ET
Categories:  Ann Marimow , General Assembly , Montgomery County  
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for md to have tougher drunk driving laws three things must happen:

Del. Joseph Vallario must retire
judges must take this as a "serious event"
Del. Joseph Vallario must retire

Posted by: jrzshor | March 6, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

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