Hawaii drunken driving bill moves forward after deadly crash

HONOLULU — Hawaii lawmakers have advanced a measure that would allow judges to prohibit people convicted of drunken driving from purchasing or publicly consuming alcohol for three years after their conviction.

The measure, introduced by House Judiciary Chairman Chris Lee, has yet to be heard by the House Finance Committee and the Senate, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Friday.

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The House Judiciary Committee moved the bill forward at a hearing on Thursday.

The proposed legislation comes in the wake of a deadly crash that killed three people in Honolulu. Police say the driver was intoxicated.

The widow of William Travis Lau, a 39-year-old Honolulu doctor who was one of those killed, testified in favor of the bill.

“My husband was just out there enjoying himself, exercising, and this senseless thing is what took him away from the world, took him away from me,” said Melissa Lau. “I feel that hopefully this bill is going to be a step in the right direction to helping to prevent things like this from happening again — people like this being on the road, people like this being out there, being able to hurt other people, kill people. It should have never happened.”

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The measure initially proposed that residents caught driving under the influence be automatically banned from buying alcohol or consuming it in public for three years. Lee amended the measure Thursday to leave it up to the discretion of judges.

The measure would also increase fines for being caught driving under the influence.