HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The family of a local doctor killed in last week’s deadly Kakaako crash called on state lawmakers Thursday to get tougher on drunk drivers.
Melissa Lau testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday afternoon in support of House Bill 703, which would ban people convicted of driving while intoxicated from buying or consuming alcohol in public for three years.
Last week Monday, her late husband, Dr. Travis Lau, was out on a run when 27-year-old Alins Sumang plowed into a group of people at Ala Moana Boulevard and Kamakee Street, killing Lau and two others.
Police say he was drunk and going 51 miles an hour when he hit the pedestrians.
"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," Lau said, holding back tears.
With Hawaii's high rate of alcohol-related traffic fatalities, she says stricter DUI laws, enforcement, and penalties are needed.
"Hopefully this bill is going to be a step in the right direction to help prevent things like this from happening again. People like this being on the road, being able to hurt other people, kill people," said Lau.
It's an issue that's become very personal to the Lau family.
Travis' grandmother was also killed by a drunk driver.
“My wife lost her mother due to a drunk driver in the 60s,” said Travis’ father, Dr. Bill Lau. “It’s just too much on our entire family.”
The committee voted to move HB703 forward, and lawmakers are looking at other different bills to crack down on people who get behind the wheel while intoxicated.
Another proposal moving ahead would require offenders to install an interlock device in their vehicles and show no recorded violations for a period of time before their driving privileges are restored.
Lau says life without Travis has been really rough, but says she trying to be strong for him to spark change.
“I don’t want to have to keep watching the news and hearing another tragedy. I think over time we’re starting to become kind of numb to these tragedies. How can you prevent this from happening?” Lau said.