Hawaii lawmakers call for new DUI laws after deadly crash

HONOLULU (AP) — State lawmakers say they will push for tougher legislation to address a growing number of drunken and impaired drivers in Hawaii following a deadly crash in Honolulu.

Lawmakers said Thursday that they will push for stronger laws that target first-time and repeat offenders, noting an increase in drug and alcohol-impaired drivers.

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Last week, a pickup truck crashed into six people, killing three and injuring others. Police say the driver was intoxicated.

State Rep. Chris Lee said one of the three fatalities, William Travis Lau, was his high school classmate.

“A tragic event occurred a couple days ago, one that was completely avoidable, but like it, there are so many others that happen on a regular basis around the state,” said Lee.

“In 2017, 42 people were killed as a result of drunk driving, impaired driving, and that’s something that needs to come to an end.”

Lee says he will introduce a bill that would prohibit anyone convicted of driving under the influence from purchasing or publicly consuming alcohol for three years.

Honolulu police Capt. Ben Moszkowicz said on average there are about 100 to 200 drug-impaired DUI arrests and 4,000 alcohol-impaired DUI arrests annually in Honolulu.

New ideas from the community are also welcome, lawmakers said, including how to improve safety for pedestrians and a re-examination of crosswalk laws and traffic cameras.

Among the bills up for consideration this session is House Bill 753, which would strengthen the state’s ignition interlock program with more stringent requirements and offer courts the option of using a constant sobriety monitoring system.

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Sen. Karl Rhoads said DUI incidents are not accidents, but predictable events.

“When you have a situation like that where you think you’re in a safe place and you’re not, it just makes it doubly tragic,” said Rhoads, referring to the Honolulu crash.

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