Big Isle Leads State in DUI Checkpoints 01-12-01

PHONE: 961-2305
JANUARY 12, 2001


Big Island police lead the rest of the state in the number of vehicles stopped at DUI roadblocks, according to a report issued by the State Transportation Department.

The annual report, which covers the federal fiscal year of October 1999 through September 2000, noted that during that period, Hawaii County police screened 47,700 vehicles, the highest number screened at sobriety checkpoints throughout the state.

The traffic safety report also noted that Big Island police led the rest of the state in the number of drunk driving arrests made as a result of the roadblocks, making 131, or 71 percent, of the 185 DUI arrests at roadblocks statewide.

Sergeant Randy Apele of the Traffic Services Section attributed the large number of vehicles stopped to the Police Department’s commitment to get drunk drivers off the road by aggressively pursuing federal funding and allocating the personnel needed to man DUI roadblocks effectively.

Apele said officers assigned to DUI roadblocks try to keep delays in the flow of traffic to a minimum.

“Roadblocks are an effective way to identify drunk drivers through personal contact with motorists,” he said. “At the same time, we try to intrude as little as possible into the lives of motorists.”

The transportation agency’s safety report noted that Hawaii County Police Department leads the state in the number of citations issued for violating seat belt and child restraint regulations. During the federal fiscal year, Big Island police issued a total of 6,992 citations for seat belt or child restraint violations.

The report said the Hawaii County Police Department was “very effective in issuing seat belt citations. The power of enforcement is likely to have a positive impact on occupant protection statistics on the Big Island.”

The report also noted the Big Island’s efforts to curb underage drinking, noting:

“Hawaii County had the most active youth deterrence program since ‘rave’ parties (large groups of kids drinking) became a growing problem on the Big Island. With the use of federal funding, 130 arrests were made for those under 21. In addition, 39 other arrests were made, 94 citations were issued, and 30 warning cards were given to minors.”

Apele said the Hawaii County Police Department has been aggressively cracking down on drunk driving, underage drinking, the failure to use seat belts and child restraints and other traffic-related violations.

“By keeping up the pressure, we hope to build the public’s awareness of the need to obey our traffic laws as the only way to ensure the safety of everyone on our roads and highways,” he said.

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