Bad drivers frequent Annapolis target over the years
But we didn't note that the concept has been kicked around in Annapolis frequently over the years. It was last embraced by O'Malley's predecessor and recent electoral foe former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. The Republican governor touted it as a way to discourage speeding and neglectful driving, according to a 2006 article in The Gazette.
Before that, the idea was championed by Sen. Rob Garagiola and Del. William Bronrott -- both Democrats from Montgomery County. That bill (the Driver Responsibility and First Responders Fund Act) would have levied a $50 fee for a fourth point on a license, and $300 for alcohol related offenses. It passed in the Senate in 2005 and 2006, but died in the House both years.
O'Malley's plan slaps a $100 fine on drivers for every point over five. Alcohol related offenses result in a $500 fee. The fines must be paid every year for three years -- and apply to in-state and out-of-state drivers convicted here.
Similar fees have been adopted in four other states. Virginia drivers disliked the idea so much that the legislature repealed the fines a year after passage (and reimbursed motorists). Texas, Michigan and New Jersey also fine bad driving.