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Several Hawaii counties stepping up speed/impaired driving enforcement

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Police Checkpoint

Police in counties across the state of Hawaii are stepping up speeding and impaired driving enforcement ahead of the holiday season.

HONOLULU -- Police in counties across the state of Hawaii are stepping up speeding and impaired driving enforcement ahead of the holiday season. Only Honolulu County did not increase enforcement, and police say that is because they already have plenty of coverage on the road.

There is a change in tactics, however. Officers are using data to determine which areas need special attention and, so far, police believe it's working.

But speeding is still a problem -- 35,934 citations were issued so far in 2021 compared to 29,968 at the same time in 2019.

The number of fatal collisions involving alcohol or drugs went down on Oahu from 26 cases at the same time last year to 14 cases this year. HPD acting major James Slayter believes that's encouraging news.

"There really is no excuse for impaired driving. We shouldn't still be seeing impaired driving-related crashes. People should know," Slayter said.

The Maui Police Department received more than $155,000 in federal funding for speed enforcement. Lt. William Hankins says the money will be used to ramp up enforcement, purchase new equipment, and produce public service announcements. Instead of eight hour shifts, officers will work up to 16 hours throughout the holiday season.

"We need to get back to driving with aloha. We lost that out here in the state of Hawaii through COVID and the mandates and everything else. We need to bring that back," Hankins said.

Hankins says of the 15 traffic fatalities on the island so far in 2021 -- nine were related to excessive speed.

"They go hand-in-hand. One is the same as the other. You always have impaired driving and they're speeding. This is what's causing all the catastrophes out there with the traffic crashes," he said.

The Kauai Police department reports there's increased enforcement in areas that tend to have more serious crashes. Areas such as Kuhio Highway that goes past the Wailua Golf Course (between about mile marker 3 and 5.5) and Kaumuaii Highway from halfway bridge to the Tree Tunnel.

KPD officers issued about 200 speeding citations in October. There were also seven impaired driving arrests.

On the Big Island, latest numbers show a 9.5% increase in DUI arrests compared to last year.

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