3-15-24 Police Remind Motorists to Drive Safely This St. Patrick’s Day

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

Media Release

St. Patrick’s Day is one of our nation’s most popular holidays. It’s also one of the most popular drinking holidays, making it a dangerous time on our island’s roads. People are more likely to make poor decisions as a result of drinking, including driving while intoxicated. To spread the message about the dangers of drunk driving and to help keep our island roads safe, Hawai‘i Police Departmentis teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remind Big Island motorists that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving

According to NHTSA, there were 272 lives lost in drunk-driving crashes over the holiday period (6:00 p.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18) between 2017 and 2021. Though drunk-driving fatalities are more likely to occur at night, drunk driving puts people’s lives in danger at any time of the day. During that same period, there were 31 daytime drunk-driving fatalities.

So far this year on the Big Island, there have been seven fatal crashes, a 75 percent increase over the four fatal crashes during the same time last year.

“Because St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, we anticipate that alcohol consumption will increase both on that day and throughout the weekend,” said Torey Keltner of HPD’s Traffic Services Section. 

“We ask everyone to celebrate responsibly. Don’t rely on luck to get home safely this St. Patrick’s Day. Have a plan ahead of time for a sober driver, call a friend, a family member, a taxi, or a ride share service to get home if you’ve been drinking.”

Police remind motorists they will conduct enhanced traffic enforcement throughout the holiday weekend to ensure the roadways are safe.

“If you are operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant and our officers find you, you will be arrested and taken to jail. It’s pretty simple, have a good time but don’t drink and drive,” said Keltner.

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