Speeding kills, most often the driver. Drinking and driving kills, most often someone else.
So far this year, 12 lives have ended in crashes on Maui County roads. That's two less than at this time last year, but nothing to cheer about. Most of those crashes involved speeding or impaired drivers, or both.
Protests to the contrary, there are no high-speed highways on Maui. Two or three miles of 55-mph zones do not make high-speed roadways. Even multilane, divided roads are not suitable for speeding since Maui motorists tend to drive - regardless of speed - a scant few feet from the car ahead.
During the Fourth of July weekend, police officers made 14 arrests for driving under the influence. Nine of the DUI arrests were made in the Wailuku-Kahului area. Two DUI arrests were made on Molokai where there were also five arrests for having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle. There were two DUI arrests in Kihei and one in Lahaina.
There should be no one, of any age, who doesn't know that drunken driving can result in tragedies, or, in the very best of circumstances, hefty fines, jail time, loss of license and lifelong problems getting legally required insurance. Impaired, however, doesn't necessarily mean drunk. A driver can be under the legal limit and still be a menace.
In the words of one of the more recent public service advertisements, "Buzzed doesn't mean sober." Controlling a ton or more of steel requires constant attention and quick reaction time - both of which can be reduced to lethal levels by even small amounts of alcohol.
A new, enthusiastic group of police officers recently went on patrol. More unmarked police cars are even on the back roads. With graduation-party season in full swing, expect to see more police roadblocks checking for impaired drivers.
Good citizens don't endanger the lives of others. Good citizens avoid getting arrested by simply following the laws governing the use of alcohol and the speed of vehicles. Good citizens are willing to look at themselves and what they do, honestly and soberly.
Are you a good citizen?