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28 arrested over the weekend for DUI and PPD

DPS issues stern warning for the holiday season
joy@samoanews.com

The Department of Public Safety is highly concerned about the number of people arrested since last Friday for Driving Under the Influence and for Public Peace Disturbance; and it has led to DPS issuing a stern warning to the public to drive sober and safely and remember to keep the peace during the holiday season.
 
The enforcement  kicked off last Friday, and compared to 2012— when ten were arrested during the same period of time — the territory is looking at 28 people arrested and arraigned in District Court on Monday. Fourteen were charged for DUI and another 14 were charged for PPD, which is a huge increase, said Acting Commissioner of Public Safety, Leiseau Vaitoelau Laumoli.
 
Leiseau said it appears the public is not taking this issue seriously — yet they should.
 
He told Samoa News that police officers are pretty hot and heavy on enforcement because it’s Public Safety’s goal to ensure that there are no fatalities or accidents this holiday season.
 
However, he noted it is a two-way street, and they can only do so much to enforce and advise, but it’s members of the public who need to heed the advice.
 
The police had a roadblock in front of the Laufou Shopping Center last Friday night, while many police officers were also roaming the main highway, tracking down drunk drivers.
 
Leiseau said these enforcements are held during the holiday season to deter dangerous and drunk driving and more than 1,000 hours of enforcement are being planned for the holidays. He urges drivers to use their common sense on the road.
 
He also reminded drivers that they must drive defensively. “You can never anticipate the drunk driver coming up and rear-ending you or someone pulling out in front of you.”
 
“So if people make a poor choice — to drink and drive — they will get arrested, we don’t want that to happen… that’s not our goal. Our goal is for people to not drink and drive. Make the better choice.”
 
Seat belt violations are also a major priority for officers said the Acting Commissioner and recommended several safety tips for the holiday season.
 
“You do not drink and drive — designate a sober driver. You Buckle up — and make sure all vehicle occupants are properly restrained. You Take extra precautions — and pay attention to the road conditions given the numerous potholes.
 
“Slow down and obey the speed limit. You avoid distractions like cell phones and the use of your iTouch while driving and be alert at all times. And You dial 911 if you observe an unsafe driver.”
 
Leiseau also reminds the public that given the fact there will most likely be parties every day — “please drink responsibly and call a taxi when intoxicated to take you safely home.”
 
“We have zero tolerance for drunk drivers, because when you operate a vehicle while intoxicated you place everyone on the main highway at risk. Please, the plea from the police is very simple, don’t drink and drive… don’t take the risk of driving drunk, because you will get caught and you will be arrested, but the worst is getting into an accident where a fatality may occur.
 
“All these can be avoided… Just by not driving drunk. Call a cab and be safe,” he said.
 
Laumoli added that they are not only after drunk drivers, but also underage drinkers, speeding violators, those who are running stop signs and any traffic violator.
 
“Beware, because we are out there…just don’t violate any laws, then you are good to go,” he said.
 
 He also urged parents not to leave their car keys with their teenage children, because they have had several cases of underage drunks who were arrested for DUI. “Teenagers get out of hand when they are overly intoxicated and they act stupid, putting not only themselves at risk but also pedestrians and other drivers.”



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