64 percent of fatal crashes due to alcohol, drugs 11-16-04

HAWAII COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT
OFFICE OF THE POLICE CHIEF
PHONE: 961-2243
NOVEMBER 16, 2004

MEDIA RELEASE

The percentage of traffic deaths caused by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs has increased dramatically over the past year.

As of November 1 this year, a total of 36 persons have been killed in 28 traffic crashes, compared to 30 traffic deaths recorded in 27 crashes during the same period last year.

Of the 28 fatal crashes recorded as of November 1 this year, five were related to alcohol only, eight were related to drugs only and five were related to both drugs and alcohol. This means that most fatal traffic crashes, 64 percent, were caused by drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs. A total of 18 percent were attributed to alcohol, 29 percent to drugs and 18 percent to both drugs and alcohol.

Speed also was a factor in 15, or 54 percent, of the fatal crashes. In 11 of the speed-related fatal crashes, either alcohol or drugs was also involved.

In addition, in 11 of the fatal crashes, or 38 percent, the victim was not wearing a seat belt.

Of the 28 fatal crashes, 13 were single-vehicle crashes in which a vehicle ran off the road and overturned, struck an object or struck an embankment and overturned.

Nine of the fatal crashes occurred between midnight and 6 a.m., and 19 fatal crashes occurred between 7 a.m. and midnight.

In addition to the 36 recorded fatalities, six more persons were killed in four crashes on private roads or streets and were recorded as non-traffic fatalities. Two of the four non-traffic fatalities involved drugs, and speed was a factor in three of the four fatal crashes. In addition, none of the victims was wearing a seat belt.

Police Chief Larry K. Mahuna noted that the fatality statistics were disheartening because most of them could be prevented.

“It’s a sad comment that nearly two-thirds of the traffic fatalities could have been avoided by simply refusing to get behind the wheel when you are drunk or high on drugs,” he said.

“Even in these fatal crashes, many of the lives lost probably could have been saved by merely wearing a seat belt,” he said.

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