By Associated Press - Wednesday, January 22, 2020

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) - Five vehicles were towed under a new Maui County law allowing police to tow vehicles of drivers arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Hawaii police said.

The Maui Police Department began implementing the law Friday and the first vehicle was towed in Lahaina following a DUI arrest just after midnight, Maui News reported Tuesday.

“For the owner of the vehicle, it’s not being left here where it could be vandalized or damaged or even stolen, which we’ve seen before. It’s going to a safe and secure location, and it’s good for the community because it’s not going to be driven by anyone else tonight,” DUI Task Force Sgt. Nick Krau said about a truck taken from a driver Saturday.

Police made eight DUI arrests and towed five vehicles over the weekend, Krau 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.

Maui County Council passed the DUI tow regulation and Mayor Michael Victorino signed it into law in December.

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.

“Decades of research show that 0.05 blood-alcohol content laws can save lives,” Krau said. “At a 0.05 blood-alcohol level, drivers will experience reduced coordination, reduced ability to track moving objects, difficulty steering, reduced response to emergency driving situations.”

As of Sunday, Maui police have made 39 impaired-driving arrests this year, authorities said.

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