Community: 7-01-22 Police Remind Motorists to Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over During Upcoming July 4th Weekend

Community: 7-01-22 Police Remind Motorists to Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over During Upcoming July 4th Weekend

This Independence Day, Hawai‘i Police Department is participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over impaired driving awareness campaign. The primary goal of the law enforcement presence will be to prevent the tragedies previously seen around the July 4th holiday.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 11,654 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes that involved an alcohol-impaired driver in 2020. Last year, 493 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes over the July 4th holiday period (6 p.m. July 2 to 5:59 a.m. July 6). Of those fatalities, 41 percent (201) occurred in alcohol-impaired driving crashes.

Locally, traffic fatalities have increased dramatically compared to last year. To date there have been 20 traffic deaths on island, compared to 12 this time last year.

Of the 12 traffic fatalities at this time last year, impaired was a factor in 10 of them. So far this year, test results have shown that impairment is a factor in seven of the 20 fatalities, however it should be noted that test results for 10 of the fatalities have not been finalized, so this number may increase significantly.

“While we wish everyone a safe and happy Fourth of July holiday, we need to be clear that drunk driving in Hawai’i is 100 percent illegal and completely dangerous,” said Torey Keltner, Hawai‘i Police Department’s Traffic Services Program Manager, “especially in light of the dramatic increase in traffic fatalities we’ve seen so far this year.”

“It’s important to understand that there’s absolutely no excuse for drinking and driving, impairment can occur even after just one alcoholic beverage. Being impaired at all means your ability perceive a situation, understand the correct course of action, and react to it are distorted and/or slowed.

“Sometimes fractions of seconds in a traffic crash are the difference between life and death,” said Keltner. He adds that Hawai‘i Police Department will be out in force conducting saturation patrols and DUI checkpoints to help keep Hawai‘i Island residents safe.

“Being arrested for a DUI costs thousands of dollars and it means you put yourself, your passengers and everyone on the road at risk.

“There are many options for getting home safe, other than driving a vehicle while impaired.  Call a friend, a family member, and nowadays you can call a ride share or taxi very easily. It doesn’t cost a lot for sober ride and you can avoid very dangerous situations and potentially life altering events.”

With many Fourth of July festivities wrapping up late in the evening, nighttime hours are particularly dangerous: Over the 2020 July 4th holiday period, of the 201 people who died in alcohol-impaired motor vehicle traffic crashes, 85 percent of the crashes were at night (6 p.m.–5:59 a.m.).

Police urge motorists to drive responsibly this holiday weekend and have a safe driving plan. If you plan on drinking, plan on not driving. Hawai‘i Police Department these safe alternatives to drinking and driving:

  • Designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely. It could save you $10,000 on a DUI.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact the police department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or in case of emergency, 911.
  • Do you have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

This Fourth of July, commit to only driving 100-percent sober. Don’t lose your independence on Independence Day, and don’t be a deadly risk to yourself and other innocent people. Remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

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