St. Patrick’s Day triggers drunken-driving crackdown

The Maui News

Beginning today and continuing through the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, police will crack down on drunken driving, with increased patrols and DUI checkpoints at various locations.

According to a Maui Police Department announcement, police are increasing enforcement because St. Patrick’s Day has become one of the nation’s deadliest holidays marked by a dramatic spike in drunken-driving fatalities.

Over the weekend, police are planning increased saturation patrols using unmarked patrol vehicles and police motorcycles, as well as sobriety checkpoints.

Police said being properly secured in a vehicle is the most effective way to avoid being killed in a traffic crash.

As part of the enforcement, police said there will be zero tolerance for drivers using cellular phones. Under the state mobile electronic device law, it’s a violation to have a cellular phone in your hand while driving. The fine for a violation is $297 or $347 if the violation occurs in a school or construction zone.

Police are also reminding drivers about the state “Move Over Law.” The law requires drivers approaching an emergency vehicle that is stopped with its flashing emergency lights activated to slow down to a safe speed, make a lane change into the adjacent lane or, if possible, two lanes over, which would leave one lane between the driver and the emergency vehicle. If necessary, the driver shall come to a complete stop before making a lane change, according to the law.

Police recommend that people plan a safe way home before they start celebrating and designate a sober driver. Instead of driving, police recommend that someone who has been drinking use Uber or Lyft ride-sharing services, take a taxi or call a sober friend.