HONOLULU (KHON2) — A wave of traffic fatalities over the Memorial Day weekend has experts reminding drivers that speeding, impaired, and distracted driving could put you in a place much worse than jail.
Back in 2019, HPD issues 14,730 speeding tickets until June. One year later, that number jumped to 21,170 in the same time frame. 19,315 citations have been handed down so far in 2021.
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Year-to-date DUII arrests have dropped in 2020 from 1,500 to 999, but are now back up to 1,272.
“It’s sad to see we’re getting back to the worst of both worlds, speed and impared driving,” HPD Traffic Division Captain James Slayter said.
HPD says those are the primary reasons behind most fatal and critical crashes, to go along with distracted driving.
Those three were all responsible for tragic collisions over the holiday weekend.
Early Sunday morning in Kaimuki, a pedestrian was sent to the hospital in critical condition after being hit by a driver believed to be under the influence.
A few hours later, a man was killed in Waikiki after speeding down Kalakaua Avenue before crashing into a pole and tree.
Then Tuesday morning, a woman died after she hit a guardrail in Waianae. Police believe she may have been distracted while behind the wheel.
“Until you actually see the devastation that bad driving causes you really don’t feel the impact and you really don’t see how it effects people’s lives” Captain Slayter said.
“Just a week ago, this young man graduated from Lahainaluna,” Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said. I don’t and I cannot I say do understand the pain the parents and family is going through,”
Wong Way Driving Academy instructor Steven Wong teaches teenage drivers. Even with driving education he says they have to be able to make the right decisions on their own.
“We give them the right foundation to make sure they handle things like road rage and distractions and all of these kinds of things, but it’s up to them to take these basic instructions and use them in their daily life,” Wong said.
On Hawaii Island police are stepping up enforcement. DUI arrests are up 47% from last year.
“That’s certainly a factor in it, we’ve had a significant increase in DUI’s that are actually officers stopping and making arrests for that,” Hawaii County Traffic Services Section Program Manager Torey Keltner said.
The Big Island has also had a decrease in major traffic crashes.
“Until June of 2017 when we had 577 major crashes now we’re at 311 which is a pretty significant downturn,” Keltner said. “Our grant projects are a big part of what we do to have officers out at additional times. They hit the road and are out there in the areas that have been identified as fatal corridors or high major crash corridors, areas on the highways that we know of where crashes occur over the years.”
Kauai has also had 0 traffic fatalities in 2021 and is on pace to have a decline in speeding, distracted driving, and DUI’s.
Wong says that people aren’t used to having heavy traffic anymore.
“Since the pandemic is ending, people aren’t allowing enough time. Because this is way different traffic than what we had during the pandemic. You get on the road you can be anywhere in 10 minutes. Nowadays 10 minutes is going to take you 20 minutes with the traffic,”