License test will soon be available in Hawaiian

Published On: Feb 14 2014 01:55:50 PM HST
Updated On: Feb 14 2014 03:52:18 PM HST


HONOLULU -

Even though Hawaiian is one of the official languages of the state, Hawaii residents won't be able to take driver's license exams in the language until next month.

The state Department of Transportation is preparing to make Hawaiian an exam language by March 17.  It will be one of the few official transactions that can be conducted in Hawaiian.

Officials plan to also offer the test in Samoan, Tongan, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, Tagalog, Ilocano, Korean, Spanish, Marshallese and Chuukese on March 17.

The department's acting civil rights coordinator, Clifton Harty, says translating the written, multiple-choice tests in the languages is important to Hawaii's diverse community.

Meanwhile, an ongoing federal lawsuit claims Hawaii discriminates against immigrants by only allowing driver's license tests to be taken in English.

In August, a native Hawaiian speaker claimed he could not get a driver's license test despite five requests to take the exam in Hawaiian.

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