Lawmakers consider tightening Hawaii’s drunk-driving threshold

Local News

Even if it’s against the law, we still see hundreds of cases of drink driving each year.

Now a lawmaker wants to tighten the rules by changing the definition of what it means to be drunk behind the wheel.

State Sen. Josh Green, who’s also an emergency room doctor, says one alcohol-related death is one too many.

He introduced SB 2053, which would lower the threshold of blood alcohol content for DUI from 0.08 to 0.06.

“I want to gradually move our feelings about driving with alcohol down to zero and the first step would be to decrease to 0.06,” he said.

How much would somebody have to drink to reach that 0.06 level?

“Well to be safe, you never want to have more than one alcoholic drink,” Green said. “Right now, sometimes it’s two. Everyone metabolizes alcohol differently.”

Despite efforts by police, people continue to drive drunk.

In 2014, Honolulu police arrested more than 4,600 people for drunk driving, and the average blood alcohol content of those arrested was 0.141.

Attorneys may challenge the bill, citing a backlog in the system, if more people are arrested for drunk driving.

“I would love to see consensus on something like this. I would hope law enforcement comes forward. I know the medical community doesn’t want to see anybody drinking and driving,” Green said.

The bill is scheduled for a public hearing before the Senate committee on transportation and energy next Thursday, Jan. 28, at 2:45 p.m. at the State Capitol, conference room 229.

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