KAKAAKO, Hawaii (KHON2) — Officials and victim advocates are pleading other members of the public to not drink and drive if they have plans to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

The 20th anniversary of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving victim memorial dedication was held at the Kakaako Waterfront Park on Thursday, March 16.

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Zero impaired driving deaths in Hawaii is the goal and the Department of Transportation had a question for those who think that sounds crazy.

“So, what’s an acceptable number? 90? 75? 50? 25? We’re all from Hawaii,” said DOT Highways Administrator George Abcede. “Our parties — family get-togethers are minimum 25 people. If they tell you 25 is acceptable, look, have them look around the room.”

Michele Lee knows the pain of losing a loved one too soon all too well. Her daughter Brianne was killed by a drunk driver in Honolulu in 2019. Lee had a message to those who get behind the wheel after an adult beverage.

“There’s so many options. You have Uber. You have Lyft. You have the cab,” Lee said. “You have friends and family that would rather get a phone call at 3 a.m. They’re going to be mad, but they’ll get over it.”

Lawmakers are going over a bill that would lower Hawaii’s legal blood alcohol content from .08 to .05. The project director of Hawaii Alcohol Policy Alliance pointed out the National Transportation Safety Board recommends .05 for every state.

“But we really just need to folks to talk to their lawmakers, say that this is really important to them, that road safety is important. It’s important to everyone.”

Rick Collins, Hawaii Alcohol Police Alliance Project Director

Big Island officials said impairment played a role in 17 of the 34 traffic fatalities in 2022.

KHON2 asked if those who have St. Patrick’s parties should start thinking about what they will do afterward.

“That’s a good thing, a good thing to think, Bryce. It’s have a plan ahead of time when you haven’t consumed any alcohol or anything that would impair your judgment,” said Hawaii Police Department Traffic Services program manager Torey Keltner. “And we know that just even one drink doesn’t allow you to be at your maximum capacity and capabilities.

MADD advocates hope no more holes will be left in local families after the 20th anniversary of the Kakaako Waterfront Park victim memorial dedication.

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“There isn’t closure after somebody dies,” said MADD victim memorial chair Theresa Paulette. “It does get better, it absolutely gets better with time, but the void never goes away.”