Drunk driving is contributing to danger on Hawaii's streets and highways.
drunk driving killed 51 people in the state in 2012, according to the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. DUI accounted for about 40 percent of the state's traffic fatalities in 2012.
The rate of traffic fatalities involving alcohol impairment was higher
in Hawaii than the nation as a whole. Hawaii reported 0.51 such fatalities
per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2012, compared with the U.S.
rate of 0.35.
This month, a driver was charged with driving under the influence and negligent
homicide in the death of a Honolulu skateboarder on Kamehameha Highway
Hawaii News Now reported. Friends and family of the young skateboard have turned a concrete
highway barrier near the accident scene into a memorial with flowers and
Investigators told the newspaper that alcohol was an issue in the accident.
The skateboarder rode into the path of the vehicle, police said.
The death marked the 25th traffic fatality in Hawaii this year.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving suggests the state could do more to prevent drunk driving. The organization,
which rates states' anti-drunk driving efforts, gave Hawaii four out
of five stars in its most recent report.
MADD awarded the state one star each for sobriety checkpoints, required
ignition interlocks for first-time DUI offenders, enhanced penalties for
drunk drivers with child passengers, and administrative license revocation
for people arrested on drunk driving charges.
But MADD withheld a fifth star for Hawaii, saying it lacks a program that
makes judges and prosecutors available to streamline the acquisition of
warrants to test the blood-alcohol levels of DUI suspects who refuse to
voluntarily allow a test.
People suspected of drunk driving have the right to refuse a blood-alcohol
test in Hawaii, but they can also have their licenses revoked for refusal.
Hawaii is a destination for people enjoying honeymoons, celebrating anniversaries
and observing other milestones in life. Unfortunately, that also can mean
excessive alcohol use and the increased potential for fatal car accidents.
After accidents involving drunk driving, drunk drivers face criminal charges.
The families of those harmed by drunk drivers also may have a legal option
to bring a civil lawsuit, to hold the drunk driver accountable for the
personal injury or
wrongful death that they have caused.