Big Island sees significant drop in deadly crashes, credits rece - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Big Island sees significant drop in deadly crashes, credits recently passed law

Aliyah Braden Aliyah Braden
DUI Checkpoints DUI Checkpoints
DUI Checkpoint DUI Checkpoint
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Hawaii County law named after a 17-month old Kona toddler, is being credited with bringing down traffic fatality rates.

Aliyah Braden was killed after the car she was in was hit by a drunk driver in 2009.  In 2012, the council passed Aliyah's Law.

"Allows the police to tow vehicles of people who are driving without licenses, who have a license that is suspended or revoked, who are drunk and driving, (or) under influence of drugs," says Roth, who helped draft Aliyah's Law.                                                                           

He believes towing the cars keeps the drivers off the road, at least for awhile, preventing crashes.

Statewide, the number of deadly crashes stands at 95, and if that number holds, it will be the first time Hawaii is under 100 since 1998. Those numbers are preliminary as there are still some victims who are hospitalized. 

The breakdown of traffic fatalities by County as of December 30, 2014 is pictured at right (on desktop computers).

While Honolulu and Kauai are about even, Maui is up, but the biggest change, the Big Island.  Numbers there are down significantly to 11, from 26 last year, and 38 the year before.

"The tow companies are telling me the majority of tows that they have are because of Aliyah's law," says Roth, "And they're also telling me a lot of the cars they're towing are the same cars that get into these crashes that kill people. We're using Aliyah's law and taking these cars off the streets prior to them getting into a crash." 

Honolulu Police say a similar law would be difficult to enforce on Oahu because there are so many more cars and less land to store towed vehicles.  HPD's traffic division focuses on enforcement -- like checkpoints, and education.   

"If you know someone is too drunk to drive, take their keys, give them a ride, keep them off the road," says HPD Lt. Stason Tanaka.

Whatever the strategy, the goal is the same, to bring down the number of deaths of the road and see that everyone gets to their destination, unscathed.

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