Dec. 24—Drunken driving arrests on Oahu have surpassed last year's total, and Hono lulu police and prosecutors are urging holiday revelers to drive sober and safe.
Through Monday, 2, 505 people have been arrested for driving under the influence, compared with 2, 072 in 2020 and 3, 652 in 2019. There have been 77 critical or fatal collisions on Oahu roadways so far this year, according to the Honolulu Police Department.
"As a community, we can't wait for someone else to fix this problem or for the problem to go away on its own because the next life lost could be yours or a loved one. Please do your part to commute safely this holiday season and throughout the year, " said Capt. James Slayter of HPD's Traffic Division in a statement to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
There were 54 traffic fatalities on Oahu in 2020, up from 51 in 2019.
Arrests of habitual drunken drivers and motorists caught at police checkpoints also passed last year's totals. Fifty-nine habitual drunken drivers have been arrested so far this year, compared with 57 last year and 68 in 2019. Habitual drunken drivers are those convicted of operating a vehicle under the influence three or more times within a 10-year period.
HPD increased sobriety checkpoints by 56 % this year, and officers have arrested 432 drivers at 512 checkpoints in 2021, compared with 169 in 2020 and 93 in 2019.
With Christmas and New Year's celebrations in full swing, law enforcement officials are reminding partyers to enjoy the season but to be sure to designate a sober driver or take advantage of rideshare services, taxis and other alternatives to getting behind the wheel while impaired.
"Drunk driving kills. If you drink over the holidays, designate a sober and responsible person to get you home safely. We will prosecute drunk drivers to keep Honolulu's streets safe, " said Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm in a statement to the Star-Advertiser. "If you drink over the holidays, take an Uber or Lyft or designate a sober and responsible person to get you home safely."
On Nov. 24, prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, the state Department of Transportation partnered with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and county police departments to launch a "No Excuses " holiday enforcement and education campaign that included public service messages and random sobriety checkpoints statewide through the end of the year.
In addition to impaired driving, police are reminding motorists to obey the speed limit and be aware of increased pedestrian traffic.
As of Monday police had issued 29, 908 speeding citations, 948 for reckless driving, 575 for racing and 6, 652 for excessive speeding. Excessive speeding is driving 30 or more miles per hour over a posted speed limit or driving more than 80 mph anywhere.
Interim Honolulu Police Chief Rade Vanic, speaking Dec. 15 to the Police Commission, said the period between Christmas and New Year's is a particularly dangerous time on Oahu's roadways, and he urged the public to be careful and avoid tragedy.
"Our officers will continue to be on the roads this holiday season to ensure we keep the roadways safe, " Vanic told commissioners.