From Sen. Nancy Jacobs:
It’s ironic that what we call an “accident” frequently is not an accident at all. People who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol make a choice that can result in serious injury or death.
Right now in Maryland the maximum penalty for driving drunk and causing life threatening injuries is stiffer than the same crime by someone high on drugs. This makes no sense. I have introduced a bill that would make those penalties the same.
A terrible crash in Ocean City last December shows why it’s important to penalize those who drive drugged with the same severity. A driver, high on PCP, slammed his pickup truck into the back of a car carrying a mother and her one year old child. The prosecutor says the brakes were never applied. The two victims were thrown 100 feet and sustained life threatening injuries. After more than two months at Johns Hopkins Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, doctors still don’t know if the child’s brain damage is permanent.
We have taken great strides towards protecting Marylanders from drunk drivers with tougher laws in recent years. For example, if someone is convicted twice within ten years for driving drunk, they lose their license. Causing life-threatening injury to someone could earn a drunk driver three years in prison and a five thousand dollar fine. But the maximum penalty for a drugged driver causing that same suffering is just two years and a three thousand dollar fine.
A person who decides to get high on any substance and get behind the wheel is terribly selfish and they can cause a lifetime of suffering. Let’s make sure they get the time they deserve.
Sen. Nancy Jacobs