As the Labor Day Weekend got underway, Mother Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Hawaii joined forces with local law enforcement in Downtown Honolulu to remind motorists to be safe by buckling up and designating a driver if their Labor Day plans include alcohol. Honolulu Police set up sobriety checkpoints across the state and increased patrols throughout the holiday weekend. These checkpoints are part of a national and statewide Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. The Block at 803 Waimanu Street in Kaka’ako generously donated bottles of water to hand out to drivers that have no violations during the stops. More than a dozen teens from various schools across the state and members of the military assisted MADD and HPD at this event.
Research shows that high-visibility enforcement is an effective way of stopping impaired driving, preventing injuries and saving lives. Studies show that these checkpoints can reduce drunk driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent. Honolulu Police report that there were 107 OVUII arrests made during the 2013 Labor Day Weekend. This number is almost double the number of arrests made during the following weekend with 57 OVUII arrests made. Additionally, the Emergency Medical Services responds to a higher number of traffic related incidences during holiday weekends. While specific data from Labor Day Weekend is not available, the Department of Health reports that from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014 Emergency Medical Services responded to 562 traffic-related incidences, which had some form of involvement with alcohol, drugs, or both. *Most recent data available
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows Labor Day weekend is a dangerous holiday for driving nationwide. In 2013, 38 percent of fatalities during the holiday travel period involved drunk drivers, amounting to 161 lives lost. More than a quarter of those fatalities involved a driver with a blood alcohol at least twice the legal limit.
Drunk driving is unfortunately a year-round problem that is taking the lives of both impaired drivers and innocent victims. In 2013, NHTSA shows 65 percent of people killed in impaired driving crashes were the drunk drivers themselves. That means 6,515 drunk drivers lost their lives along with 3,561 additional victims.
There are, however, a few simple tips for ensuring a safe holiday weekend:
· Plan a safe way home before you start your festivities by designating a sober driver.
· Use Uber, the on-demand ride-sharing program. For every new user who signs up and uses the promo code MADD HI, the rider will get a free ride (up to $20) and Uber will donate $5 to MADD Hawaii. Start by downloading the Uber App today.
· Contact the Drunk Driving Prevention Program (DDPP) for a free ride home every time. The DDPP will drive you and your car home completely free of charge! DDPP is available to anyone (both military and civilians) every Friday and Saturday nights from 8:00 pm until 6:00am. Call 808-888-7407.
· If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local law enforcement immediately.