Drunk driving In Hawaii And What Is Being Done To Stop It

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The on-going issue with drunk driving in Hawaii
What is being done to prevent it?
Facts about drunk driving in Hawaii
Final word


The on-going issue with drunk driving in Hawaii

Recently, over half of all the car accidents resulting in a death in Hawaii have been because of a drunk driver. This is an alarming statistic because in 2012 the percentage of fatal accidents involving a drunk driver was 31% nationwide. More recently in 2016, that number was down to 28%. So, Hawaii seems to have a dangerous problem with drinking and driving, especially when you consider their percentage of deadly car accidents involving alcohol is nearly double the national average.

That percentage had dropped after being alarmingly high in the 1980’s and even into the early 1990’s after stricter laws were introduced regarding drinking and driving in Hawaii. It reached an all-time low in 2014 at only 35%, which finally fell close to the national average. However, now the number has risen again to over 50%.

Over the years, these numbers have been higher than other places in the country likely because Hawaii has some unorthodox and confusing traffic patterns which are difficult to navigate and the culture is one of relaxation which leads to higher amounts of people drinking. In fact, a recent study found that just over 20% of adults in Hawaii drinks “excessively” which is two percent higher than the national average of 18%.

What is being done to prevent it

Hawaii is going to tighten its drinking and driving enforcement in a big way going forward. They recently started a “Drive sober or get pulled over” program in an effort to educate the public about drinking and driving.

In addition to that, laws are being created that will enforce stricter penalties on drunk drivers. A new law that passed just two and a half months ago on July 1st will lower the charge of “habitual DUI” from three convictions in ten years to only two. It will also increase fines and jail time for DUI and DWI offenders.

Specifically, the periods for the length of license revocation will increase from months to years in many cases, probation will become jail time and fines will increase from hundreds to thousands of dollars in most cases.

Local police will also step up enforcement. More checkpoints are planned in Hawaii in the coming months, especially on holidays where people generally tend to drink such as the eve of Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.

Facts about drunk driving in Hawaii

Before you decide to risk arrest, your safety and, most important, other people’s safety, you should learn the facts about drinking and driving in Hawaii. Here are the facts:

  • More than half of the fatal car accidents in Hawaii could have been avoided – In 2016, 64 out of 109 fatal accidents involved a driver who tested positive for alcohol. That is 59%. That is double the national average for that year which was 29%.
  • You will pay dearly if you drink and drive in Hawaii – The new legislation that passed on July 1st introduced stricter penalties for drunk driving. The highlights of the law are:

    • For someone’s first offense they will lose their license for a year, have a breathalyzer installed in their vehicle, pay a fine between $250 and $1000, and could possibly get community service or even several days in jail.
    • For a second offense that person will lose their license for two to three years, they will serve over two hundred hours of community service or go to jail for a month, and they will pay a fine between $1,000 and $3,000 dollars,
    • If a person is arrested for DUI with someone sixteen years old or younger, they will suffer the above consequences appropriate to their past history plus an additional $500 fine and serve an additional mandatory two day jail sentence.
  • There is a chapter of MADD in Hawaii – You can join the fight against drunk driving in Hawaii by joining the efforts of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The Hawaii chapter can be found here.
  • You can report someone you suspect of drunk driving – If you are out on the road and you see someone driving who is doing so erratically (swerving etc.), you can report them to the police by calling their non-emergency line in Hawaii at (808) 529-3111.


Final word

Just don’t do it. Drinking and driving is a senseless and selfish act. You can always grab a cab or a ride using a ride-share app like Uber for just a few dollars and avoid the possibility of injuring or killing someone. Getting caught drinking and driving will turn your life upside down and will crush you financially.

If you are out on the road, always stay away from any drivers who seem like they might be driving drunk. You should pull over and call the police immediately if you suspect anyone of driving drunk as well.

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