by: Minna Sugimoto
(KHNL) - We're in the homestretch, the final month of 2006.
Unfortunately, it's been a tragic year on our roadways. The number of traffic fatalities on Oahu is already at a 16-year high.
For Doctor Hao Chih Ho, a trauma surgeon at the Queen's Medical Center, a slow business day is a good business day.
"When I have business, when I see a patient, it's usually because something really bad had happened," he said.
Sadly, business has skyrocketed. Eighty-seven people have died on Oahu's roadways this year. Police say that's the highest number in 16 years.
"That is not, unfortunately, surprising to us," Ho said.
Last month, HPD launched a speed enforcement task force to try to stem the tide. Doctor Ho says some of the most horrific injuries he sees are from high-speed crashes.
"We have patients with very severe facial injuries or brain injuries," he said. "The things like broken legs, broken arms, the internal injuries is also quite common, and those can be very difficult to manage."
For him, the toughest part is knowing many of the crashes could've been prevented.
"A lot of patients come in badly injured because they were drinking or they were speeding," Ho said. "If they could have made a different choice earlier in that evening, they might not have ended up here."
He hopes drivers will remember that during this holiday season.