Feds support Hawaii driver’s license lawsuit


HONOLULU — The U.S. Department of Justice is supporting a lawsuit alleging Hawaii discriminates against those who struggle with English because of challenges they face in obtaining a driver’s license.

The Justice Department on Thursday filed court documents saying the allegations are sufficient to proceed with a discrimination claim. The filing says the federal government has a “critical interest” in ensuring the Hawaii Department of Transportation provides those with limited English proficiency a “meaningful opportunity” to take the driver’s license test.

The lawsuit was based on Hawaii offering the exam only in English. However, the Transportation Department began offering the test in 12 other languages last week. Agency spokeswoman Caroline Sluyter says more than a 100 people have since taken the test in a language other than English.