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Lawmakers hope to toughen DUI laws

Lawmakers called a press conference Thursday in Honolulu in reaction to a Monday traffic collision near Ala Moana Center that killed three pedestrians and injured several others.

“These types of deaths are avoidable. It’s frustrating, especially when you know people who have been involved, and we all do,” said Rep. Chris Lee, a Windward Oahu Democrat and the House Judiciary chairman. “When someone is under the influence and kills someone while driving, it is not an accident. It is murder.”

Sen. Lorraine Inouye, a Big Island Democrat and Senate Transportation chairwoman, said she thinks there will be “a lot of action strengthening drunken and impaired driving laws this session.”

“Our communities need to be directly involved in community safety,” Inouye said.

The group asked the public for ideas and detailed some bills already introduced and under consideration, including:

• House Bill 703: Which would prohibit any person convicted of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant or habitually operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant from purchasing or publicly consuming alcohol for a period of three years following conviction or administrative license revocation.

• HB 753: Which would require compliance with the ignition interlock program before an interlock device is removed. Allows for a constant sobriety program.

• Senate Bill 641: Which would add the definition of “substance abuse” and amend the definitions of “drug” and “substance” for purposes of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant violations.

• SB 645: Which would require that the revocation of license period be tolled for any period in which the person does not have an ignition interlock device installed on a vehicle owned or operated by the person. Establishes requirements for removal of the ignition interlock device. Allows a defendant to enroll in an alcohol or substance abuse education or treatment program, or a sobriety program.

• HB 757: Which would require the state Department of Transportation and the county transportation departments to adopt a Vision Zero policy that seeks to prevent and ultimately eliminate all traffic fatalities through a combination of engineering, enforcement, education and emergency response strategies that focus on equity.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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