People who use alcohol or drugs and drive put everyone on the roads at risk.

According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, every day, 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This is one death every 50 minutes.  While data is limited, on accidents caused by drug impairment, in 2018, 12.6 million people reported driving under the influence of marijuana or other drugs.

During the pandemic, police departments around the country have reported an increase in DUIs and substance-associated traffic accidents.

Here is a recent report out of Hawaii, that sounds all too familiar. 

Hawai‘i Police Department

Traffic Enforcement Unit

Media Release

A 13-year-old Waikoloa female died following a single vehicle collision on Thursday (November 18, 2021) near the intersection of Kamakoa Drive and Iwikuamo’o Drive in Waikoloa Village.

The 13-year-old female has been positively identified, but her name is being withheld since she is a juvenile.

Responding to a 6:36 p.m. call, police determined that a black 2007 Honda Accord 4 door sedan was heading south on Iwikuamo’o Drive when it drove off of the roadway and onto the sidewalk. The vehicle then struck the 13-year-old female pedestrian and her teenage male friend. The vehicle lost control and rolled over several times into a vacant lot. The 13-year-old female pedestrian was transported to the Kona Community Hospital where she was later pronounced dead at 11:38 p.m.

The driver of the Honda Accord sedan, a 21-year-old male of Waikoloa and his 16-year-old male passenger also from Waikoloa were taken to North Hawaii Community Hospital for treatment. The driver and passenger of the Honda Accord sedan were treated and later released.

The 21-year-old male driver was later arrested for Negligent Homicide in the first degree, Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant and Driving Without a License.  He currently remains in custody while the investigation is continuing.

Police do believe that speed and impairment are possible factors in the collision.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

This is the 25th traffic fatality this year compared to 14 at this time last year.

The story is tragic because of the death of the 13-year-old victim, gone much too early, and the young man, who is now going to prison. So, as the holiday season continues, please think before you use drugs or alcohol and get behind the wheel.