HONOLULU (KHON2) — Some Hawaii lawmakers want to almost cut the legal limit for drunk driving in half.
A measure moving through the State legislature would do just that — but it has gotten pushback in previous years.
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The bill would lower the legal limit for driving under the influence from a blood alcohol content of .08 to .05. The lower limit is already a standard for 90 other countries and the state of Utah.
Sen. Chris Lee helped introduce the bill in 2022 and said the data speaks for itself.
“So it is a simple change that can have a profound impact on the number of lives saved on our highways each year,” Sen. Lee said.
Kurt Kendro with Mothers Against Drunk Driving said a common misconception is most people think they would be okay to drive at a .05 level.
“Everybody thinks, ‘Well, .05 I can still drive.’ That’s not necessarily true because studies have shown that drivers, even at the .05 level, are seven times more likely to be involved in a crash. People think that they can drive while having one or two drinks, ‘I’m not drunk, I’m feeling good but I’m not drunk,’ and that truly is not true.”Kurt Kendro, Mothers Against Drunk Driving public policy committee chair
Lt. William Hankins with the Maui Police Department said there has been pushback from bars in the past who worried about customers not coming out due to lower blood alcohol limits.
“We need the alcohol industry to understand that we’re not trying to shut them down. We’re not trying to take profits out of their pay. If they serve someone over the limit and they go out and get killed, they lost a customer, they’re losing money!”Lt. William Hankins, Maui Police Department
“People are impaired at .05. If you’re impaired at .05, you don’t need to be on the road,” Lt. Hankins said. “Let’s get people off the road, let them make the right decisions before they start getting impaired.”
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SB2334 will be up for a public hearing in the coming weeks for the community to weigh in — click here for more information.