By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
Police arrested 31 people for drunken driving over the Labor Day weekend, according to arrest logs for Friday through Monday, and no traffic fatalities were reported.
That’s all but four of the 35 DUI arrests for the week starting Aug. 27 and ending Monday, and three more DUI arrests than the 28 for the previous week of Aug. 20-26. Fifteen of the holiday weekend’s DUI arrests were in Hilo, while another 14 occurred in Kona, with one each in South Kohala and Ka‘u. For the remainder of the week, there were three more arrests in Hilo and one in Kona.
“A lot of the DUI arrests were from DUI checkpoints,” said Sgt. Robert Pauole of the Hawaii Police Department’s Traffic Services Division.
Asked whether there were any traffic fatalities that police had not yet released information about, Pauole replied: “To the best of my knowledge, no,” and added “some of the accidents over the weekend did involve drunk drivers.”
Six of the arrested drivers for the week were involved in traffic collisions, and one was younger than 21.
Pauole, who on Friday described Labor Day weekend as “one of the most dangerous weekends on the roadways,” on Tuesday said the holiday weekend was “definitely a good weekend as far as traffic enforcement is concerned.”
Police started the DUI roadblocks before the holiday weekend began. Officers were stopping drivers Thursday night on Kinoole Street between Kalakaua and Haili streets in downtown Hilo.
Pauole didn’t say where the checkpoints occurred or how many officers were manning them, but police logs indicate multiple arrests happened at the corner of Kinoole and Lono Street, on Makaala Street, Kanolehua Avenue and Banyan Drive in Hilo.
In Kailua-Kona, multiple arrests were logged at the intersection of Kuakini Highway and Nakakui Drive, and on Kaiwi and Henry streets.
Pauole credited a federal “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” grant for funding the overtime needed to pay officers to perform DUI checkpoints.
“You know, sometimes with the longer weekends, the district commanders will sometimes shuffle their staff in order to have a bigger presence to hopefully get out there and conduct more traffic enforcement,” he said. “This grant actually allows the officers to get out there and perform the enforcement efforts.
“If officers are working their daily shift, sometimes they have no time for traffic enforcement. I remember when I was in patrol, most of the time you’re going from call to call. You clear one call, you’re on to the next call. You rarely have time for traffic enforcement.”
So far this year, there have been 947 DUI arrests, compared to 974 during the same period last year, a decrease of 2.8 percent.
There have been 981 major accidents so far this year, compared to 931 during the same period last year, an increase of 5.4 percent.
There have been 25 official traffic fatalities this year on the Big Island, compared with 15 during the same period last year, an increase of 60 percent.
To date, 13 of those fatalities have been liked to impaired drivers, with five were related to drugs, two to alcohol, and six, a combination of both.
Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune- herald.com.