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Transcript: November 22 Maryland Remembers Ceremony

GOVERNOR HOGAN: Good morning, thank you Secretary Slater.

It is an honor to be here with all of you once again for this 18th annual Maryland Remembers Ceremony as we pay tribute to those Marylanders who lost their lives at the hands of an impaired driver.

This week families across Maryland and across America will gather together to celebrate Thanksgiving. After all that our state and our nation have been through over the past year, there is a great deal to be thankful for.

One of the things that I am sincerely thankful for is each and every one of you. Year after year you come here, you bring a photo of your loved one, you tell their story, and you never stop fighting to prevent more needless deaths from impaired driving.

I am inspired by your courage and your compassion. I know that this time of year is especially difficult. There is that empty seat at your dinner table. But what you are doing truly matters and it saves lives.

Choosing to speak out about the heartbreak you have endured truly does have the power to change the behavior of others and to save lives.

I want you to know that I will always continue to stand with you and we remain committed to doing everything we can to prevent impaired driving crashes and fatalities.

With your support, we enacted Noah’s Law to require ignition interlock devices for anyone convicted of drunk driving in Maryland.

After a multi-year effort, we successfully enacted the “Repeat Drunk Driving Offenders Act” to impose stronger penalties on drunk and drugged driving offenders.

In a few moments, you will hear from Kimberly Sizemore whose son Bennett was struck by a drunk driver last year who had previously been convicted of eight DUIs.

In April, he was sentenced to 10-years in prison. It’s the first time a defendant has received the maximum sentence in Anne Arundel County under the new law.

Maryland is also continuing to pursue the latest technology in this fight. We are partnering with the driver alcohol detection system for safety program to test alcohol detection technology installed in state-owned vehicles.

Today we are joined by 13 officers who recently graduated from the state’s DUI institute. They are joining our aggressive law enforcement efforts to remove drunk and drugged drivers from Maryland roadways.

We continue to partner with programs including DUI and drug courts to help people address and overcome addiction.

And today I am pleased to announce that Maryland is one of just 5 states to receive a grant from the governor’s highway safety association and beginning this Wednesday through the New Year, we will be offering $10 rideshare credits to Marylanders across the state during the holiday season.

Last year, over 1,300 people were arrested in Maryland from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

No one should ever get behind the wheel of a car and drive impaired.

And we hope that this creative new initiative will encourage more Marylanders to make better choices.

Together we truly are making progress. Last year, we saw a decrease in impaired driving fatalities.

But tragically, we still lost 120 people due to the reckless actions of a drunk or drugged driver.

Even one death is one too many, which is why we must continue working together, we must continue to tell the stories of those we have lost, and we must continue doing everything in our power to save lives and to prevent future tragedies.

May God bless each and every one of you, your families, and the loved ones we remember here today.

Thank you.