Reporting Monique Griego
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — The National Transportation Safety Board is calling for major changes when it comes to drunk driving laws after new statistics show a deadly link to wrong-way crashes.
Monique Griego has more from families affected by the crime.
Wednesday, families gathered in Annapolis to remember their loved ones. They hope this new report leads to stricter drunk driving laws.
The procession of pictures is a painful reminder of what these families have lost.
“You can easily let it destroy you,” said Cheryl Hammond.
In February 2011, Hammond’s daughter Jessica was walking in Carroll County when she was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver who later admitted to being drunk. This week, as Hammond joined other victims’ families for a memorial in Annapolis, the National Transportation Safety Board released a new report showing a deadly link between drunk driving and wrong-way crashes.
“You don’t realize what a big problem it is until you consciously start paying attention,” said Hammond.
According to the NTSB, over a six-year period, more than 2,100 people are killed in wrong-way crashes. Out of the more than 1,500 accidents, 60 percent were alcohol-related.
The board is now making several recommendations to lawmakers, which include improving road signs and requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers.
“We know that in states that have it, fatalities are reduced significantly,” said Jan Withers, MADD.
Just last month, a 3-year-old was killed by a drunk driver going the wrong way on the Beltway. The driver also died. In Anne Arundel County, alcohol-related wrong-way crashes killed two people in June and four others–including three teens–back in January.
“We as a public need to start paying attention to this. We can’t afford to lose any more lives,” said Hammond.
Hammond is not only pushing for stricter laws but also tougher penalties. The man who killed her daughter received three years in jail with work release.
The NTSB is also recommending advancements in technology that include wrong-way alerts from GPS systems.