ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Millions of people will be on the highways for the Thanksgiving holiday, making this a timely reminder to be sober behind the wheel.
For 16 years, families of people killed in crashes caused by driving under the influence have gathered in Annapolis, both as a remembrance, and a warning.
“Together we truly are making progress,” Gov. Larry Hogan said. “Last year, alcohol and drug-impaired drivers were involved in less than 27 percent of all fatal crashes in Maryland, and that’s the lowest percentage in more than a decade. But while it’s progress, it’s not good enough.”
From 2014 to 2018, there have been 800 DUI fatalities. 16,000 people have been injured.
“Even one death is too many,” Hogan said.
For Natalie McCarter, it was her husband.
“At 4 a.m., the police knocked on the door to tell me my husband was killed by a drunk driver who was driving on the wrong side of the road,” she said.
A new repeat drunk driver law took effect on October 1. It doubles the jail time from five to 10 years for causing death or serious injury.
John McGuire’s daughter was one of three people killed in a car driven by a drunk driver, who served four years.
“Got out in 2016, went to college, got a degree, and he’s back in jail now,” McGuire said. “Violated his parole… drove drunk. He actually blew four times in his interlock over the legal limit.”
Gov. Hogan wanted to send a message to Maryland drivers.
“There is never an acceptable reason for getting behind the wheel of a car and driving impaired.”