HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Honolulu Police Department pledged to crack down on drunk drivers over the Labor Day weekend, asking folks not to drink and drive and have a plan before heading out.
HPD reports that there were 36 DUI arrests made from midnight Thursday going into Friday to 5:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, the majority of which came from town followed by the west side. That compares to 41 a year ago.
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Capt. James Slayter runs HPD’s Traffic Division, and through his career, he’s seen a lot of tragedy and horror.
“Until you’ve had to see somebody get wrapped up in a body bag, and you’re at the scene and you just see the grieving families and the people coming down and until you feel that gut-wrenching, it’s just not the same,” Capt. Slayter said.
So it means a lot when he’s hopeful. According to Slayter DUIs in Honolulu are down to 1,750 from 1,940 this time last year. The same thing happened on the Big Island with 659 DUI arrests compared with 723 last year. Maui County has had 363 compared to 378 last year.
Data for Kauai in 2021 is incomplete, but the county has only had 56 so far this year.
“We’re hoping that the drop in numbers is people being more responsible and we’re thankful for that,” Capt. Slayter said. “We’ve been beating the drum for decades, Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been beating the message for decades and it’s just at a certain point as a community we have to realize like, enough is enough.”
Much of HPD’s messaging of no excuses was about making a plan before you go out. Rideshares, designated drivers, or public transportation are among the options to schedule in advance.
“When your judgment gets clouded, you start making bad decisions,” Capt. Slayter said. “So whereas when you are sober, if you saw yourself you would say, I’m in no condition to drive, but when you’re impaired, your judgment is very skewed, and you end up making a poor choice.”
While DUIs are down deaths have taken a U-turn. Across the state there have been 81 traffic fatalities through August, that’s the most of any of the past 5 years through August.
Capt. Slayter looks at the 36 DUI arrests made in Honolulu over the holiday weekend as lives saved from that list.
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“One of our officers pulling you over, either giving you a ticket or arresting you for impaired driving, that officer potentially saved your life or saved you from making such a horrible decision to get the only way that you hurt somebody else and you end up in jail for a long time,” Capt. Slayter said.