HONOLULU – The Queen’s Health System (QHS), in partnership with other health care providers, first responders and traffic safety partners statewide, would like to urge everyone to designate a sober driver as part of their “new normal” this summer and year-round. As the State and counties move towards reopening the economy, families and friends may be reconnecting this summer to celebrate and make up for major milestones missed during the Safer at Home orders. Along with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for physical distancing, it is imperative to add to your safety list a designated driver to safely transport you to your destinations.
“It’s been a challenging year for many of us in Hawaii,” said Dr. Kyle Perry, an emergency room physician at The Queen’s Medical Center. “We are all looking forward to being able to celebrate with our loved ones, but please keep yourself and others safe. Make no mistake: if you choose to drive impaired, you put yourself and the community in harm’s way.”
According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), which provides yearly data to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as well as Congress, from 2014 through 2018, there were more fatal crashes in Hawaii involving a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or above on the weekends compared to weekdays (40.8 percent versus 29.6 percent). This is important to note as we have already seen large-scale parties occur this past Memorial Day weekend.
“Our first responders and emergency room staff constantly see the tragic results of major crashes caused by impaired driving and other controllable factors,” Hawaii Department of Transportation Deputy Director of Highways Ed Sniffen said. “We join them in asking you to take measures to not become a fatal crash statistic. You can do this by wearing your seat belt, driving sober, or designating a sober driver to help us all get home safely to our ʻohana and loved ones.”
Hawaii’s health care workers, first responders, the Hawaii Department of Transportation, the Hawaii Department of Health, county police departments, MADD Hawaii and many other stakeholders are working collaboratively to address our communities’ most pressing traffic safety issues, including impaired driving. This multidisciplinary group collaborated to create the Hawaii Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP), a five-year plan that embraces the five Es of safety – engineering, education, enforcement, emergency medical services and everyone else – and provides strategies to improve safety on all of Hawaii’s public roads. For more information about the SHSP, visit https://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/shsp.
Hawaii’s emergency health care workers and traffic safety partners recommend these safe alternatives to driving while impaired:
- Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride sharing service to get home safely.
- If available, use your community’s sober ride program, taxis, Lyft, UBER or the bus.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 911.
- Do you have a friend or family member who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your loved ones home safely.