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Huge Jump In DUI Arrests From 2014 To 2015

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Cracking down on drunk driving. Maryland saw a huge jump in DUI arrests from 2014 to 2015 -- a trend police want to reverse.

Tracey Leong explains what they're doing about it.

It's a dangerous trend that isn't slowing down. In fact, there were nearly 100 DUI arrests just at the start of 2016.

Officer Noah Leotta -- struck and killed by a suspected drunk driver. The 24-year-old was working on a task force to stop impaired drivers on the evening he was run down this past December.

"The state of Maryland has some of the weakest penalties for drunk drivers. Until they take this crime seriously, there is no justice for these families," said Chief Tom Manger, Montgomery County Police Department.

The Montgomery County officer's death calling attention to Maryland's drunk driving laws.

Police say the driver who hit Leotta had been drinking for hours.

Some believe his death could have been prevented if laws were tougher.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving leaders are renewing their call for action, fighting to get life-saving legislation in Maryland passed.

"What we would like to see is all first time impaired driving offenders be ordered to an ignition interlock device in their car. We know studies show it saves lives, up to a 46.7 percent fatality reduction," said Lisa Spicknall, MADD.

A law the MADD organization has been pushing for the past eight years.

In 2015, there was a huge surge in DUI arrests.

Statewide, there were about 450 in 2014 -- one year later, that number jumped to more than 550.

Everyone is hoping 2016 will be different, starting with stricter DUI laws to make our streets safer.

Currently, 25 states require interlock devices for all DUI offenders.

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