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DUI patrols to be out in force for 4th of July holiday

Police ask public to designate driver, not drink and drive

Wailuku residents Everett and Charlene Brown, whose only daughter, Hannah, was killed in a collision with a suspected drunken driver last year, talk about their loss while asking people not to drive impaired as the Fourth of July approaches. “Please help in making sure no other family will have to suffer this pain,” Charlene Brown says in a public service announcement that can be viewed at youtu.be/yxqBaXnEE6U. The Maui News / LILA FUJIMOTO photo

Starting today and continuing through the Fourth of July weekend, police will conduct sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols at various locations to target impaired driving.

“As always, motorists can expect the Maui Police Department to take a zero-tolerance approach to impaired driving,” said Lt. William Hankins, commander of the police Traffic Section. “Our goal is to promote voluntary compliance of all traffic laws and reduce motor vehicle crashes on our roadways.”

As of June 22, police made 246 DUI arrests this year, slightly lower than the 250 arrests during the same period last year. Hankins said this year’s arrest numbers are significant, considering that bars and restaurants have reopened only recently after being closed for a few months in the COVID-19 crisis.

Last year, 23 people died in 21 crashes in Maui County. Of the 21 crashes, 80 percent involved alcohol or drugs or both, according to police. Speed was also a factor in 33 percent of the fatal crashes.

So far this year, five people have died in fatal crashes, compared with 11 at the same time last year, for a 55 percent decrease. 

There have been 75 percent fewer crashes related to drugs and alcohol this year, Hankins said.

“When the DUI numbers go up, the fatal crashes go down,” he said.

The Fourth of July weekend falls within the “hundred deadliest days for driving” from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Hankins noted.

“This is the time people need to be extra careful with making the right decision because nobody should be killed over the holidays, especially when it’s preventable,” he said.

The police DUI Task Force is asking for the public’s help to keep roadways safe by:

• Planning a safe way home before you start celebrating.

• Designating a sober driver before drinking, rather than waiting until you are impaired and more likely to make a bad decision.

• Using Uber or Lyft, taking a taxi or calling a sober friend or family member if you have been drinking.

• Calling police if you see an impaired driver on the road.

“If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, be a true friend and take his or her keys,” police said. “Help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.”

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.

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