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Big Island traffic fatalities rose more than 25 percent last year

Traffic fatalities jumped by more than 25 percent last year on the Big Island, despite an increase in drunken driving arrests and a drop in major traffic crashes.

Twenty-eight people died in traffic crashes last year, a spike of 27.3 percent when compared with the 22 deaths in 2009, Big Island police said.

Of the 28 deaths, four involved drugs, three involved alcohol and 10 involved a combination of alcohol and drugs, police said.

Officers made 1,513 arrests for driving under the influence in 2010 compared to 1,395 arrests in 2009 — an increase of 8.5 percent.

About 600 of those arrests were in Kona and more than 550 were in South Hilo.

At the same time, major accidents on the Big Island fell from 1,538 in 2009 to 1,430 in 2010, a drop of 7 percent, police said.

Big Island police said sobriety roadblocks and patrols will continue islandwide.

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