MPD says ‘drive sober’ campaign to send message

The Maui Police Department’s Traffic Section “will be out in force” until Sept. 1 as it participates in the nationwide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.

Since Friday, the department’s DUI Task Force Unit has been ramping up its patrols, which include the use of unmarked vehicles to catch drunken and impaired drivers. There also will be an increase in sobriety checkpoints, said task force member Sgt. Nick Krau.

Each year, more than 10,000 people are killed in alcohol-impaired motor vehicle crashes in the United States, according to a news release.

“Unfortunately, nearly everyone on Maui has been affected in some way or another by an alcohol-impaired driver. We are sending a message, and we want the people of Maui County to know the Maui Police Department does not tolerate impaired driving,” Krau said. “Impaired driving is reckless and preventable, and it’s our job to get that point across. No excuses. No warnings. If drivers are caught driving impaired, they will be arrested.”

Maui police are asking for public assistance in helping keep the roadways safe. They recommend:

* Before drinking alcohol, designate a sober driver.

* If you’ve been drinking, take a taxi or call a sober friend or family member.

* If you see an impaired driver on the road, call Maui Police Department’s nonemergency number at 244-6400.

* Take away the keys of someone who is impaired and about to drive. Help him or her find a safe mode of transportation.

The campaign is a partnership among law enforcement agencies and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.