House committee rejects drunken-driving legislation

March 01, 2002|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

The House Judiciary Committee killed several bills addressing drunken driving last night, including measures to toughen the punishment for drivers with particularly high levels of alcohol.

Without debate, the committee defeated a bill aimed at "super drunks." It would have increased penalties for motorists arrested with a blood-alcohol level of 0.15 percent or higher, almost double the legal limit.

Supporters of the bill, sponsored by Del. Mark K. Shriver, a Montgomery County Democrat, say most deadly accidents involve drivers with such high levels.

The committee also killed two bills that would have toughened penalties for drivers who refuse to take breath or blood tests.

The committee, known for its skepticism of drunken-driving bills, delayed voting on legislation sponsored by House leadership to prohibit open containers of alcohol in vehicles and to toughen the penalty for repeat drunken drivers. Maryland is at risk of losing millions of dollars of federal highway construction dollars if it doesn't pass those bills this year.

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