STAND. COM. REP. NO. 180
RE: S.B. No. 754
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2021
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Transportation, to which was referred S.B. No. 754 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO OPERATING A VEHICLE WHILE INTOXICATED,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to lower the threshold blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for the offense of operating a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the National Transportation Safety Board, Department of Transportation, Hawaii Strategic Highway Safety Plan, Kauai County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, Honolulu Police Department, Maui Police Department, Mothers Against Drunk Driving Hawaii, SparksInitiatives, Hawaii Alcohol Policy Alliance, National Safety Council, Hawaii Public Health Institute, and five individuals. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Office of the Public Defender, American Beverage Institute, and one individual.
Your Committee finds that when Hawaii was one of the earliest states to lower its BAC limit from .10 to .08 for classification of impaired driving, the alcohol-related fatality rates dropped. When Utah became the first state to lower its legal BAC limit from .08 to .05 in 2018, the state saw a nearly forty-four percent decrease in alcohol-related crashes and a seventy percent decrease in fatalities in the first year of enactment. Moreover, research shows that among drivers with a BAC between .05 to .79, which would still be below the legal BAC level allowed under current Hawaii law, the risk of being in a single-vehicle fatal crash is at least seven times higher than for drivers with no alcohol in their system. This measure is intended to save lives by lowering the BAC limit from .08 to .05 for the offense of operating a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Transportation that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 754 and recommends that it pass Second Reading and be referred to your Committee on Judiciary.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Transportation,
CHRIS LEE, Chair