with Jamie Winpenny
I take a lot of cabs. I’m glad of it, too, as I ponder the increased, Holiday Season sobriety checkpoints announced by the Honolulu Police Department. From now through the New Year, HPD is looking to bag a lot of in-the-bag drivers.
Checkpoints will be set up at unannounced times and locations through Monday, January 2, 2012, including (but not limited to) the Halloween, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s weekends.
I spend many nights in bars on Oahu, mostly because bars are the places where people assemble to hear live music. Also, because I’m Irish-American. Admittedly, I perform sober. Yes, there was a time when my only compensation for riding four hours to play a show for a cluster of aspiring carnies in the American Outback was the free alcohol I was given, but the need for gainful employment has since won out over my desire to be a rock star. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the fact that people like to go out and get loaded. Hell, it’s my bread and butter. My butter, anyway. Or my bread. Clearly, I’m conflicted.
At any rate, in the years since I hung up my traveling pants, I’ve seen in Honolulu the remarkable growth of an ardently committed community of people that have made the city a hotbed of establishments catering to the desire to party. It’s not just shrewd entrepreneurs that have made Chinatown the bustling arts district it has become, it’s also the throngs of Oahu residents hungry for stimulation and thirsty for drink.
“Home safe!” has become my de-facto farewell. It’s because I’m keenly aware that at two in the morning, just about everyone is drunk. And not everyone is taking a cab.
That’s why I’m in favor of HPD’s increased sobriety checkpoints. I’ve nothing to fear from them. Sure, lots of people I know and care about do, but they’re generally smart enough to know better than to tempt fate by braving a road block after a night on the piss. The odds of winning a DUI or worse get better with each attempt.
The City has cited some grim and sobering DUI fatality statistics for Honolulu for this year:
“As of October 31, 2011, 47 people have been killed in 45 traffic collisions on Oahu so far this year. Speed, alcohol, and/or drugs were factors in at least 18 of those crashes. During the same period in 2010, 50 people were killed in 50 vehicle collisions; of those, 25 collisions had speed, alcohol, and/or drugs as contributing factors.”
So I’m advocating prudence in my nighttime compatriots, urging the people that I encourage to drink when I have a microphone in front of me to do the smart thing, the right thing, and not drive drunk. HPD is out to get you if you do, and they should be.