HAWAII COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT
OFFICE OF THE POLICE CHIEF
JANUARY 4, 2000
Big Island police last year arrested a record number of drunk drivers, many of them repeat offenders, Police Chief Wayne Carvalho said.
Last year, he said, police arrested a record 1,207 drunk drivers. This compares with 1,056 drivers arrested for DUI offenses in 1998, an increase of 14 percent.
A total of 219 of the 1,207 drivers nabbed last year were arrested after they had been involved in accidents. This compares with 220 drivers arrested for DUI after being involved in accidents during 1998.
Last year, police recorded 31 traffic fatalities, compared to 44 fatalities recorded in 1998. This represents a decrease of 30 percent.
The number of fatalities related to drunk driving last year decreased by one, from 14 in 1998 to 13 last year.
Carvalho noted that of the drivers arrested for driving under the influence last year, 245 were also arrested for having no driver’s license and 107 for driving while their license was suspended.
“Last year, we had a record number of DUI arrests for the second year in a row,” Carvalho said.
“However, many of those we have arrested for DUI have been arrested previously for drunk driving and have had their licenses taken away, yet they are still endangering lives by driving while intoxicated on our streets and highways.
“Perhaps it’s time to enact legislation that follows the practice of other jurisdictions and confiscate the vehicles of repeat drunk driving offenders.”
Carvalho emphasized that police are continuing their efforts to crack down on drunk drivers in order to save lives.
A breakdown of last year’s DUI arrests, by police district, shows that Kona had 378 DUI arrests; South Hilo, 361; Puna, 238; South Kohala, 139; Ka’u, 38; Hamakua, 24; North Kohala, 19; and North Hilo, 10.
# # #