The Kaua’i Police Department has caught two people for driving under the influence in scheduled checkpoints since the beginning of the summer.
“Every week we’ll have at least one,” KPD Traffic Safety Lieutenant Scott Yagihara. Since the beginning of June, the KPD Traffic Safety Division has held five checkpoints.
Just because no one was arrested so far this month doesn’t mean the police aren’t keeping their eyes out for drunk drivers.
In a Princeville roadblock the last weekend of June, two people were arrested for drunk driving.
In a Hanama’ulu roadblock on July 4, 258 drivers were checked. On July 5, 100 drivers were checked in Nawiliwili. So far this month, nearly 600 drivers have been stopped.
Drivers should be concerned about roadblocks every day of the week, not just on weekends, Yagihara said.
During the weekend following Independence Day, no one was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol while going through a checkpoint, Yagihara said. In 2001, three roadblocks were held in the Lihu’e area over the July 4th weekend.
Other than the Kaua’i Hospice Concert in the Sky, the largest public event during the month of July was the Garden Isle Racing Association’s 29th Annual Independence Day Drag Races in Mana.
The event was held on July 5-6, from just before noon to after midnight. According to the GIRA, about 1,600 people attended. It’s tradition among drag race fans to camp out, cook out and make sure the beer doesn’t run out. Some people might even drive home late at night after being in the hot sun all day.
Lt. Yagihara said they coordinate DUI checkpoints with events in different areas of the island, but said they didn’t know there would be drag races this year.
“If we receive information that something might be going on, then we take that into consideration. It depends on what’s going on,” Yagihara said.
Police have scheduled weekly checkpoints all around the island until September, and they do continue all year.
The police department doesn’t want people to think they can drink and drive during the week because there will be less of a chance of getting caught in a roadblock, Yagihara said.
It doesn’t matter whether a person is stopped for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there are similar sanctions, he said.
If a person looks to be under the influence, the officer has the person go through a series of tests, including questions as well as doing some physical maneuvers.
If the officer has probable cause to make an arrest, the driver is detained and the car is left at the scene.
When a person is brought in to the police station, they can do a breath test and/or blood test to test their Blood Alcohol Count, the percentage of alcohol in the bloodstream.
If a person’s BAC registers 0.08 percent or more, s/he would be considered “under the influence,” Yagihara said.
“What we’re trying to do – and we’ve had quite a few terrible accidents over the past few months – is to make sure those accidents don’t repeat,” Yagihara said.
Bottom line: Don’t drink and drive. Get a designated driver.
Staff Writer Kendyce Manguchei can be reached at email@example.com or 245-3681 (ext. 252).