HPD responds to rise in pedestrian deaths with crackdown
HONOLULU (Hawaii News Now)- Honolulu has the dubious distinction as being worst city in the nation for pedestrian deaths involving seniors, and 13th worst for all age groups.
Numbers are climbing for 2013. Out of 39 traffic fatalities on Oahu so far this year, 15 of them were pedestrians.
Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha announced an enforcement crackdown in response to the rise in pedestrian deaths at a rare press conference today. Chief Kealoha said, "With over a million people on this island our roads are busy and not a place to take chances with your safety or your lives."
We're on pace to surpass 20 pedestrian fatalities this year.
January fifth, an 81 year old man was hit by a car, making a run for it across Kaneohe Bay Drive.
One week later, a 35 year old homeless woman was killed after wandering onto Kalanianaole Highway in Waimanalo.
In April, another senior was killed after being hit by a car at the intersection of River Street and Beretania.
Normally, Oahu sees 17 pedestrian deaths all year. There have already been 15 in 2013 across the Island.
Citations are down from 5300 in 2011 to 1700 so far this year.
Over the next month, police will ding violators with tickets that cost between 70 and 140 dollars.
The Chief says safety is a two-way street, warning that "drivers and pedestrians who break the law will be cited."
Police will be on the lookout for violators at intersections where there has been a history of problems. It's worth noting that out of the 15 pedestrian deaths so far this year, only 3 of them occurred in marked crosswalks.
Even if a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, the Chief has these words of wisdom: "Although a pedestrian might have the right of way in a crosswalk, you don't want to be right and dead."
Police say this year is out of the ordinary because of some unusual circumstances.
There was an elderly woman hit by a garbage truck in Aiea.
A young man run over lying in the road in Pearl City and another 40 year old man killed after being hit by a Waikiki trolley.
Chief Kealoha stresses citations aren't the answer. In his words, "The key is to get people to take responsibility for their own safety."
For pedestrians, that means using marked crosswalks and paying attention, not getting wrapped up by distractions like cell phones or music.
Drivers should keep their hands on the wheel and be on the lookout for people crossing or running into the road.
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Copyright 2013 Hawaii News Now <http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com>. All rights reserved.