With the vacation season beneath approach, police as soon as once more will take to Hawaii County’s streets to conduct DUI roadblocks, based on Torey Keltner, Hawaii Police Division Site visitors Companies Division program supervisor.
“(Police Chief Paul Ferreira) has just lately approved the roadblocks once more,” Keltner advised the Tribune-Herald.
The DUI checkpoints had been discontinued due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, in favor of so-called “saturation patrols,” through which extra officers are stationed in areas identified to be probably routes for impaired drivers.
Officers will likely be sporting masks on the roadblocks, based on Keltner.
“They’re going to take steps to make it possible for the general public is secure,” Keltner stated. “That’s been the consideration and the priority of the chief.”
Keltner testified briefly Thursday morning earlier than the County Council about three payments searching for the discharge of federal grant funds to police for visitors enforcement. All three payments, launched by Puna Councilman Matt Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder, handed their second readings unanimously.
The primary of the payments launched $64,917.10 into the division’s roadblock program account, which makes the overall appropriation for the present fiscal yr into that account $424,917.10. The funds will “be used to scale back the numbers of drivers working a automobile whereas impaired.”
Keltner advised council members the funds for the roadblocks are wanted due to the numerous improve in visitors fatalities this yr, 25, versus 14 at the moment final yr, a rise of 78.6%.
“The checkpoints are a visible deterrent,” Keltner advised the Tribune-Herald after the assembly. “Individuals see them, then the phrase will get out that officers are on the market doing them. And officers are involved with an entire lot extra folks (than with saturation patrols), generally tons of of them.”
Of these 24 visitors deaths, impairment was a think about 11 of the fatalities and is suspected as a contributing issue within the two most up-to-date deaths, each inside the previous week.
Seven of the visitors fatalities have been associated to medication, one was associated to alcohol solely, and three visitors fatalities have been as a result of a mix of alcohol and medicines.
To date this yr, there have been 948 DUI arrests in comparison with 853 throughout the identical interval final yr, a rise of 11.1%.
There have been COVID-19 associated lockdowns for a portion of final yr, which additionally included closures of bars and sit-down restaurant service — which meant a decrease variety of automobiles on Hawaii Island’s roads, decrease DUI arrest totals, and considerably fewer visitors fatalities in 2020 than the 25 on the island’s roadways in 2019.
“The upper quantity of individuals on the roadways, the upper variety of DUIs you’re going to have. When extra persons are driving, there are going to be extra folks consuming alcohol or utilizing medication and driving, as effectively,” Keltner stated.
The roadblock program account additionally offered funding for the saturation patrols police have carried out since pandemic measures have been taken by county authorities in March 2020.
The second invoice transfers $97,880.80 to the division’s distracted driving mission account “to scale back the variety of drivers utilizing digital gadgets whereas working a automobile.” The overall quantity appropriated to that account this yr is $171,880.80
The third measure deposited $8,020 within the division’s velocity enforcement account for a complete appropriation of $254,020 this fiscal yr.
Impaired driving, distracted driving and rushing are all components contributing to visitors collisions and fatalities.
“This isn’t new info,” Keltner stated. “No fatality is a suitable factor. They’ll all be prevented if folks observe what the legal guidelines say and do what’s secure.”
Electronic mail John Burnett at email@example.com.