Hawaii is a final vote away from revving up ignition interlock law - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii is a final vote away from revving up ignition interlock law

Carol McNamee Carol McNamee

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A warning for drunk drivers - it's homestretch for a three-year battle to get Hawaii on board with nearly the rest of the country.

The Aloha State is one of only four states left that does not have an ignition interlock law.

On Tuesday, that could change.

A father was arrested Saturday for drunken driving, allegedly crashing his truck on Kalanianaole Highway, sending his two kids riding in the truck bed to the hospital.

On the same day, there was another DUI arrest involving Boyd Kamikawa, an off-duty, veteran Honolulu police officer, who allegedly struck a pedestrian at a crosswalk in Chinatown.

A proposed law designed to crack down on DUI cases like these could soon breathe new life into public safety, starting January 1, 2011.

"Just know that those people who are arrested may be going home from their New Year's eve parties could be the first people to try out an interlock," said Carol McNamee, founder of Mother's Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Hawaii.

MADD Hawaii is just a final vote and a governor's signature away from a victory over its bill.

If approved, anyone arrested for DUI, even if not convicted, must install an ignition interlock system in their car.

That includes first time offenders.

You blow into the device, and if your blood alcohol level is more than .02, the engine won't start.

"We're having the offender pay so it will not fall upon the state or the taxpayer to pick up the cost," said McNamee.

A cost of about $75 to $80 for installation, plus $60 to $70 every month or two months for service visits to make sure the offender is complying.

The device comes with a camera, to catch anyone who tries to get a sober friend to blow into the breathalyzer for them.

If implemented, MADD Hawaii says by the end of 2011, at least 3,000 DUI offenders will be on Hawaii roads with this device keeping them in check.

MADD's bill goes before the full House and Senate on Tuesday for a final vote.

If passed, it then heads to Governor Lingle's desk for approval.

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