Mother of drunk driving victim, turn MADD advocate, speaks out against dangers of underage drinking

Don't Drown Your Future campaign

Sponsored by Honolulu Liquor Commission

While underage drinking is a serious problem, underage drunk driving is even more dangerous. The Honolulu Liquor Commission is working to raise awareness about these risks and is partnering with Mothers Against Drunk Driving in its campaign to stop underage drinking.

Karlotta Carvalho is the mother of former Kahuku football standout Waika Carvalho, who was killed in a DUI crash in Laie on November 14, 2009, when he was just 23 years old. This year marks the 10-year anniversary of his death.

“My beloved son was attending the funeral of his football coach and caught a ride with friends,” Carvalho explains. “Little did he know that he would be stepping into a car driven by an intoxicated 19-year-old. What was supposed to be a 5-minute ride ended up being the last moments of his life as the driver crashed into the bridge.”

She describes her son as a fun, happy kid with a bright future. “Unfortunately his future was stolen by an underage drunk driver.  He was a football star that had just transferred from Golden West College to San Diego City, and he had big aspirations and goals,” she says.

Carvalho says the incident continues to impact her family even to this day. “For parents and grandparents, it is unnatural to bury your own children and grandchildren. You never get over the grief of losing a child, but you learn to manage it.”

The message she hopes to send others watching is that it’s important to take one step further in reminding teens and young adults about the dangers of underage drinking. “These lessons begin at home,” she says. “We need to remind our youth to abstain from alcohol.” She also says that parents need to be reminded that it is illegal to provide alcohol to underage kids, and that alcohol is often too accessible at home.

In an effort to create healthier and safer communities throughout the island, the Honolulu Liquor Commission recently launched its “Don’t Drown Your Future” campaign. The initiative aims to prevent underage drinking, reduce alcohol abuse, make sure liquor laws are being followed by licensees, and raise awareness about the process of properly selling or serving alcohol to patrons of-age. It also hopes to reach parents and educate them on the signs of underage drinking and alcohol abuse.

The Honolulu Liquor Commission partnered with Hawaii News Now to feature an online pledge that teens can sign, indicating their commitment to not participate in underage drinking. All who sign this pledge will be entered to win a day of fun at Kualoa Ranch for them and 11 of their best friends. Sign the pledge here: HiNowDaily.com/DontDrown

For more information: honolulu.gov/liq.html