11-17-21 Police Remind Motorists About Dangers of Impaired Driving Amid Rising Traffic Fatalities

Hawaiʻi Police Department
Traffic Services Section
Torey D. Keltner
Program Manager
Phone: (808) 961-2305

Media Release

This holiday season, Hawai‘i Police Departmentis teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for the national If You Feel Different, You Drive Different drug-impaired-driving awareness campaign to help keep impaired drivers off the road. As people prepare for the merriment of the holiday season, we want to make sure Hawai‘i Island residents and visitors are safe on the roads, traveling to and from parties and vacation destinations.

Drug-impaired driving is as dangerous as buzzed or drunk driving. Twenty-four people have died in car crashes so far this year, with two deaths occurring in the past few days, compared with 13 fatalities for the same time last year.

Of those 24 traffic deaths, impairment was a factor in 11 of the fatalities and is suspected as a contributing factor in the two most recent deaths. Seven of the traffic fatalities were related to drugs, one was related to alcohol only, and three traffic fatalities were due to a combination of alcohol and drugs.

As of November 14, 2021, there have been 697 major accidents so far this year on Hawai‘i Island roads compared with 678 during the same period last year, an increase of 2.8 percent. 

Hawai‘i Police Department will be out in force and on the lookout for impaired drivers this holiday season. Police remind the public of these safety tips.

●    Whether the drug is legally prescribed or is an illegal substance, driving while impaired by drugs poses a threat to the driver, vehicle passengers, and other road users. Like drunk driving, drug-impaired driving is impaired driving, which means it is dangerous and illegal in all 50 States, including Hawaii. Never drive while impaired.

●    Something as simple as cold medication or an over-the-counter sleep aid can impair your driving, which may lead to you being arrested for a DUI. Impaired? Do not drive.

●    If you plan on going to a party or event, plan ahead and designate a sober driver or use public transportation or a ride-sharing service. Someone who’s affected by drugs or alcohol shouldn’t be making decisions about driving; that’s why having a plan is key.

●    DUI violations are not just for drunk driving. Remember, any impairment, including drugs, is illegal if you are operating a vehicle. If you are impaired by any substance, do not drive.

The Cost of Impaired Driving

●    On average, a DUI could set you back $10,000 in attorney’s fees, fines, court costs, lost time at work, higher insurance rates, and more.

●    If you’re caught driving under the influence of any impairing substance, you can face jail time. Imagine trying to explain that to your friends and family or your place of employment.

●    Drug-impaired driving could cause you to lose your driver’s license and your vehicle. This could stop you from getting to work, resulting in lost wages and, potentially, job loss.

Plan Before You Party

●    If you have chosen to use an impairing substance, do not drive. Passengers should never ride with an impaired driver. If you think a driver may be impaired, do not get in the car.

●    Do you have a friend who is about to drive while impaired by drugs? Take the keys away and arrange to get them home safely. Don’t worry about offending someone — they’ll thank you later.

●    If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact the police.

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