Governor Larry Hogan Holds Memorial for Victims of Drunk Driving Crashes
14th Annual Maryland Remembers Ceremony Honors Victims and Families, Highlights Consequences of Impaired Driving
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today joined with Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel William Pallozzi, Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Secretary Pete K. Rahn, Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administrator (MDOT MVA) Christine Nizer, along with Maryland highway safety advocates and families for the 14th Annual Maryland Remembers event, which honors the lives of those killed on state roads by drunk or drugged drivers. This special ceremony was held in the State House rotunda and included presentation of the Kevin Quinlan Award, which is presented annually to an individual or group that has made an impact on impaired driving prevention and advocacy.
“Too many Maryland families have been shattered and too many lives have been cut short because of the reckless actions of an impaired driver,” said Governor Hogan. “We are all here together today to ensure that these loved ones will never be forgotten, and, together, we will never stop fighting to prevent more needless deaths from drunk or drugged driving.”
In attendance were Rich Leotta and Marcia Goldman, who in December 2015 lost their son, Montgomery County Police Officer Noah Leotta, after he was struck and killed by a drunk driver while conducting a DUI traffic stop. Officer Leotta’s death led to the passing of Noah’s Law by Governor Hogan in October 2016, which has helped to prevent thousands of deaths across the state.
This annual event is held at this time each year because impaired driving crashes increase during the holiday season. From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, Maryland sees an increase in traffic and experiences one of the most dangerous periods for impaired driving deaths. Last year, more than 22,000 people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, 3,311 of which took place during the holiday season.
“We want to send a strong enforcement message to motorists in Maryland,” said Colonel Pallozzi. “Law enforcement will be vigilant this holiday season throughout the state in taking impaired drivers off the road.”
Police will be deployed in a series of checkpoints and DUI patrols throughout the holidays to find and arrest impaired drivers.
During the holidays, Maryland will also continue the “Beautiful” campaign, which is part of a comprehensive strategy to save lives by preventing impaired driving through education, enforcement, and engineering efforts. The campaign’s message, “There’s nothing more beautiful than a safe ride home,” is promoted through social media, radio and television spots, and messaging inside bars and liquor stores throughout the state.
“Between designated drivers, transit services, taxis and ride shares, there are many options available to Marylanders to get home safely,” said Secretary Rahn.
“We need everyone to remember the lives we have lost and to do their part in preventing future deaths,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Nizer. “Drive sober and buckle up every time because it’s your best defense against an impaired driver, and it’s the law.”
Later in the day, Governor Hogan will lead a rally with law enforcement officers at the Maryland State Police Barrack in Annapolis to kick off increased holiday DUI enforcement throughout the state. The governor will deliver a message urging all Marylanders to help save lives by driving sober this holiday season. This evening, law enforcement across the state will participate in eight DUI checkpoints and 50 saturation patrols.
For more information on Noah’s Law and Maryland’s comprehensive efforts to combat impaired driving, visit: www.towardzerodeathsmd.com/.