Despite increased enforcement, spate of traffic deaths continues

Updated: Sep. 19, 2018 at 1:49 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Four people have died on Hawaii roadways in just the last three days, and the most recent are two pedestrians fatalities on Oahu on Tuesday night.

One of those pedestrian fatalities happened at Thomas Square.

According to Honolulu police, a 71-year-old man was killed when he was hit by a vehicle exiting a parking garage at Young and Victoria streets.

Officials say it's unclear if the elderly man was on a sidewalk or crossing the road. He was rushed to a nearby hospital in critical condition where he later died.

At the same time across Oahu in Kapolei, police say a 55-year-old woman was killed off Farrington Highway and Fort Barrette Road.

The Honolulu Medical Examiner identified the victim as Lusiana Vallejos, of Kapolei.

Honolulu police say she was walking along Farrington when she was hit by a Chevy pickup truck. Vallejos was not in a crosswalk, but officials say there are no crosswalks in that area.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The two pedestrian fatalities are the 49th traffic-related deaths on Oahu this year compared to 32 this same time last year.

But even more shocking, according to the state Department of Transportation, there have been 28 pedestrian deaths statewide since January. That's seven times more than the same period last year, during which there were only four pedestrian deaths.

Records show there have been 86 traffic-related fatalities statewide since January.

Tuesday night's deadly crashes come on the heels of state Transportation Department announcing it would be working with Honolulu police to step up enforcement to help combat the spike in traffic-related fatalities.

Along with more police presence, the state will be displaying the fatality numbers on its digital message boards every Friday in hopes the sobering statistics will resonate with everyone.

The department has been receiving mixed reviews about what the message boards currently say.

The latest one read, "A lolo driver can cause a disaster. Drive akamai."

Officials say the point is to start a conversation, and they're asking the community to email or tweet recommendations for other messages.

"We are working with the police departments to see what else we can do, where we can focus enforcement and who what groups we can meet with to get more information out there," said Ed Sniffen, deputy director for the highways division at HDOT.

"Bottom line for drivers: we need to understand how dangerous our vehicles can be if we are not driving responsibly. For pedestrians: always be alert when crossing the street. Don't take your safety for granted."

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