Maui News

State Settles Lawsuit Over Driver’s Test Translations

May 29, 2015, 7:35 AM HST
* Updated May 29, 7:49 AM
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Image courtesy County of Maui.

Image courtesy County of Maui.

By Maui Now Staff

The state Department of Transportation and the non-profit group Faith Action for Community Equity, have settled over a lawsuit regarding the translation of driver’s tests in Hawaiʻi.

The federal lawsuit alleged that the DOT discriminated against foreign-born residents by not offering a translated exam for a period of more than five years after previously existing translations were removed from service when additional questions needed to be added to the exam.

FACE organizer, Tasha Kama, a minister at Christian Ministry Church in Wailuku on Maui said the more languages and cultures included in policies, the stronger we are as a state. She said the group appreciates the opportunity to further language access for all people.

Throughout the case, and even with the settlement, the HDOT disputed that there was any discriminatory motive involved in decision-making about the translated exams.

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HDOT Director Ford Fuchigami maintains that the “HDOT and our employees have always been committed to serving all of Hawaiʻi’s residents regardless of who they are or where they are from.” He said the HDOT is committed to ensuring all drivers have the knowledge and skills to drive safely on Hawaiʻi’s roads.

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The DOT currently offers the exam in 13 languages, including Hawaiian.

“We are proud of our current language access program and are dedicated to a positive and proactive approach to language access and will continue to look at additional ways to ensure that those with limited English skills can safely drive on our roads,” said Fuchigami in a joint press release statement.

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