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Noah is Still on Patrol: Ignition Interlock Law Goes Into Effect

October 1 was the day Noah’s Law went into effect in Maryland mandating ignition interlocks for those convicted of drunk driving and increasing administrative driver’s license suspension periods for offenders.

At a Friday morning press conference in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, a stamp with a photo of Officer Noah Leotta, which will be affixed to every device in Maryland, was unveiled by his parents and local officials.

Officer Noah Leotta was killed by a drunk driver while on DUI patrol in Rockville last December. His tragedy led to the long-sought passage of legislation to require ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenders. The sticker will serve as lasting tribute to Officer Leotta and a poignant reminder that as his father, Rich Leotta, says, “Noah is still on patrol.”

“With the enactment of this law, we will have one of the strongest ignition interlock programs in the nation,” said Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, “It’s very fitting that a picture of Noah is being added to the ignition interlock devices. Police are the guardians of our welfare and Noah will always be remembered as one of our finest.”

Whenever people drink alcoholic beverages, Leggett encouraged them to make a plan and get home safely.

Before the unveiling, Montgomery County Sheriff Darren Popkin also encouraged people to make alternative transportation arrangements if they are going out and consuming alcohol.

Popkin recalled sitting in hearings for years thinking a drunk driving reduction act would go through. During the hearings, hundreds of officers testified. A number of officers spoke about being hit by drunk drivers while out on other traffic stops. Even so, Popkin believes that it wasn’t until the Leotta family advocated for the law that it finally happened.

“It is estimated that 50 to 100 lives per year could be saved with this law being on the books,” explained Popkin.