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Honolulu police prepare for New Year's Eve fireworks, vehicle enforcement

Catherine Cruz

If you're thinking of watching fireworks on New Year’s Eve, the Honolulu Police Department has a request: don't watch them on the freeway.

Hundreds of cars lined the shoulder of the H-1 in Central Oʻahu to watch fireworks last year. This year, HPD says there will be zero tolerance for stopping.

"It was a great abundance of vehicles. And we didn't have that many resources dedicated strictly to that issue," HPD Captain James Slayter said Thursday.

Calls for stalled vehicles on the highway unnecessarily pulled police resources away from crimes, Slayter said.

"This year, we're planning ahead. Obviously, that was a very dangerous situation that we observed last year," Slayter said. "We want to make sure that we are taking the necessary precautions to prevent anyone from getting hurt."

During last year's festivities from 6 p.m. New Year’s Eve to 6 a.m. New Year’s Day, HPD responded to 51 traffic collisions, made 11 impaired driver arrests and issued more than 60 speeding citations, Slayter reported.

HPD will also be monitoring illegal firework activity. Firecracker permit sales this week totaled nearly 13,680 permits and are tied to the specific fireworks purchased. Legal use is restricted to 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve to 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

Use or possession of less than 25 pounds of illegal fireworks can result in a $200 to $2,000 fine. Sellers can see a Class C felony charge for the possession or use of more than 25 pounds of illegal fireworks, which can result in 5 years of jail time and a $10,000 fine.

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