Maryland Road Dedicated to Officer Felled by Drunk Driver
When good people die at the hands of drunk drivers, do roads remember? Perhaps not, but drivers should. Which is why Route 97 in Montgomery County, Maryland, will always bear the name of Noah A. Leotta.
In December of 2015 Officer Noah Leotta had pulled aside a drunk driver on a road in that county during a holiday patrol, when he was struck and killed by another drunk driver. The senseless and tragic death of a beloved officer caused outrage in his community, outrage which led to the passing of a law mandating ignition interlocks for first-time DUI offenders.
An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.
Requiring all drunk driving offenders to use ignition interlocks has been proven to reduce alcohol-related road deaths. When Maryland passed Noah’s Law it became the 26th state to have an all-offender law. The count is now at 28, and more states are coming on board. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) issued a report which underscored the dramatic effect that ignition interlocks have had on the law enforcement landscape, preventing 1.77 million incidences of drunk driving.
On September 13th Governor Hogan dedicated part of Routh 97 in memory of Officer Noah Leotta. The dedication serves as a reminder to all of the terrible consequences of drinking and driving.
Perhaps seeing the name of a good man who fell victim to drunk driving will make others think about the decisions they make after a drink or two. We hope it does. If not, the law that bears Noah’s name will be invoked to help ensure that drunk drivers in Maryland don’t get a second chance to risk their lives and those of others through this thoughtless, lethal and entirely preventable crime.