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Advocating for safe driving

LIHU‘E — Officers from the Kaua‘i Police Department and Kaua‘i County Council Chair Mel Rapozo joined a group of sign wavers at a rally at the intersection of Ahukini Road, Veterans Memorial Highway and Kapule Highway on Saturday.

The rally was presented by Kekoa “Pure Aloha” Carvalho and To The Top Foundation with support from Keep It Flowing following advocacy training by Ho‘o kele Coalition in collaboration with the Hawai‘i Public Health Institute, Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i, the Hawai‘i Alcohol Policy Alliance, Hale ‘Opio and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

The training at the Kamehameha Schools carried a label of “Taking Action to Create Change.”

The combined efforts are just one of many ongoing initiatives designed to better prepare Kaua‘i youths to make positive life choices and become involved in their local communities, the Hawai‘i Alcohol Policy Alliance said.

The rally was designed to raise awareness for safe driving practices that prevent traffic fatalities.

The morning of advocacy training and sign waving followed the Feb. 27 public hearing for Senate Bill 2384 to lower the legal blood alcohol concentration for driving from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent where the Senate Committee on Judiciary received testimony in support of the bill from more than 65 people and organizations.

Among the supporters were the National Transportation Safety Board, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Hawai‘i County Prosecutor’s Office and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

The committee passed the bill, an action that revives legislation to lower the Blood Alcohol Content from 0.08 to 0.05 percent after House Bill 1935 died earlier.

According to traffic safety facts released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in December 2023, an early estimate of motor vehicle traffic fatalities for the first nine months of 2023 indicate a 4.5 percent decrease across the United States, including a 19 percent decrease in Hawai‘i.

Following a spike in traffic fatalities during the pandemic, the reduction was encouraging, the Hawai‘i Alcohol Police Alliance said.

However, as has been true for nearly 20 years, an estimated 40 percent of those deaths in Hawai‘i involve driver blood alcohol concentration of 0.01 percent or more, with the majority being higher than 0.08 percent.
Source: The Garden Island

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