The Kauai Police Department begins enhanced enforcement of drunk-driving and seat-belt laws beginning today, Thursday, Nov. 14.
The idea is to ensure tragedy-free holidays for all Kauaians and visitors, and the stepped-up enforcement will include random sobriety checkpoints at various locations and times, increased patrolling, and “saturation patrols.”
The saturation patrols include officers standing by roadsides and watching for those driving without seat belts, and keiki under four years of age not in required child-safety seats.
The KPD increased effort is part of a nationwide campaign, Operation America Buckles Up Children.
Last year, nationally, 60 percent of people killed in vehicle crashes were not belted.
The DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol) checkpoints, also known as roadblocks, and increased seat-belt enforcement actions, will continue throughout the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
It is the KPD’s way of helping to ensure a safe and happy Thanksgiving for all on Kaua’i, a county spokesperson said.
A ticket for not wearing a seat belt comes with a $67 fine, and so far this year KPD officers have written 2,371 of those citations, raising over $158,000 for state coffers.
During this year’s Click It Or Ticket campaign, 704 seat-belt citations were issued.
A violation for not having a youngster under four years of age in a child car safety seat carries a $100 fine, plus a requirement for the driver to attend a four-hour class, said Sgt. Mark Scribner of the KPD’s Traffic Safety Unit.
So far in 2002, some 121 safety-seat violations have been written, raising over $12,000 for state purposes. During the Click It Or Ticket campaign, 40 car-seat citations were issued.
The penalty for driving under the influence of alcohol, first offense, includes a 90-day license suspension, 14-hour substance abuse rehabilitation, education and counseling course, plus one or more of the following: 72 hours of community service, two to five days in jail, and a fine between $150 and $1,000.
A second offense involves a one-year license suspension and other penalties, Scribner said.
And KPD officers detain more people for DUI during the holidays, which are traditionally celebrated with parties where drinking is involved, Scribner said.
The other peak time for DUI arrests happens around high school graduation and its attending parties, he said.