WAILUKU — Hawaii authorities will start towing vehicles operated by people in Maui arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Maui County Council passed the DUI tow regulation and Mayor Michael Victorino signed it into law in December, The Maui News reports.
Maui Police Department officials expect to implement the new law by the end of the month, authorities said.
“We’re trying to change behavior to prevent drunk driving," said Lt. William Hankins, commander of the police Traffic Section. “The overall intent behind this law is to target people driving impaired.”
The law allows police to tow vehicles operated by drivers who are arrested for driving under the influence, driving without a license or driving after their license is suspended or revoked for impaired driving, authorities said.
The registered owner of the vehicle would be responsible for paying the towing and storage fees, which could range from $300 to $600 depending on how long the vehicle is held and when it was towed, police said.
Drivers will be given the opportunity to choose one of 10 listed towing companies, authorities said.
Police won’t tow a vehicle when a passenger is sober, has a driver’s license and is willing to assume the responsibility of driving the vehicle away, authorities said. Police also won't tow if the vehicle is parked at the residence of the registered owner or operator.
“Having this tool is going to take a weapon away from offenders, and it’s going to keep the roads clear and make it safer for everybody else," Hankins said.
The new law does not generate money for the county, authorities said.
Last year, at least 15 of the 23 traffic deaths in Maui County were alcohol or drug related, police said.
Police made 533 DUI arrests last year, authorities said.
“I’m definitely excited to see this tow ordinance happen,” Mothers Against Drunk Driving volunteer Andrea Maniago said. “If it helps bring the numbers from 15 to zero, that would definitely be the goal. If not, I’m just hoping that this tow ordinance will lower the number of deaths caused by DUIs.”