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Maui Police launch their 2017 Cinco de Mayo traffic enforcement campaign

Pictured from left to right: Officer Alvin Ota, Officer Kunal Chopra, Sergeant Nick Krau, Officer Aaron Mark, and Officer Jun Hattori. Pic: Courtesy of the Maui County Police Department

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has become synonymous with festivals and alcohol consumption.  Historically, the fifth of May commemorates Mexico’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War.  But present-day celebrations often lead to drunk driving—and there’s no victory in that.  Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving, and when you drive drunk, you run the risk of killing yourself or someone else.  It is never okay to drive impaired.  Once you’ve started drinking, your ability to decide whether you’re safe to drive has been compromised.  By then it’s too late to make a clear-headed decision.

Starting today and continuing through the weekend, the Maui Police Department will be participating in a national campaign sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  The intent of this campaign is to save lives and prevent injuries through voluntarily compliance and by taking a zero tolerance approach to impaired driving enforcement.  To help keep our community and roads safe, the Maui Police Department Traffic Section will be concentrating our traffic enforcement operations.  While traffic enforcement is always a priority for our Traffic Section, motorist can expect to see an increase to our normal enforcement activities.  We will be conducting Intoxication Control Checkpoints at various locations throughout Maui County.  The enforcement of Speed Limit, Distracted Driver (Cell Phone) and Seat Belt laws will also be increased as a part of this campaign.

Also, please remember to always wear your seat belt and make sure every vehicle occupant is buckled up.  Being properly secured in a vehicle is the single most effective way to avoid being killed in a traffic crash.  The minimum fine for not wearing a seat belt and/or not being properly restrained in a vehicle is $102.  Drivers are responsible for ensuring all occupants in their vehicle are properly restrained.  The driver will be issued the citation for any and all seat belt violations which occur in a vehicle.  The use of a mobile electronic device (cellular phone) while operating a vehicle will result in a minimum fine of $297.

 We would also like to remind drivers that the State of Hawaii has a “Move Over Law.”  The “Move Over Law” states drivers approaching an emergency vehicle that is stopped with its flashing emergency lights shall slow down to a safe speed, make a lane change into the adjacent lane or, if possible, two lanes over which leaves one lane between the driver and the emergency vehicle.  If necessary, the driver shall come to a complete stop before making a lane change. 

It’s our job to protect Maui County’s motorist and we are taking this responsibility seriously.  Maui Police Department DUI Task Force Sergeant Nick Krau is also asking for the public’s assistance in helping to keep our roadways safe for everyone by following these simple tips.

  • Plan a safe way home before you start celebrating.
  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver. If you wait until you’re impaired, you’re more likely to make a bad decision.
  • If you’ve been drinking, utilize UBER or LYFT (smart phone based online transportation networks), take a taxi or call a sober friend or family member.
  • If you see an impaired driver on the road, call the Maui Police Department to report it.You could save a life. 
  • If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, be a true friend and take their keys. Help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

Decide whether you’ll drink or you’ll drive.  You can’t do both!

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