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Will increasing the fine for drivers who don't stop for pedestrians save lives?

HONOLULU(KHON2) - Council Member Ron Menor wants the State to double fines for drivers who don't stop for pedestrians.

"Government has to take a more proactive approach and reduce these accidents from occurring in the future  and one of the ways I think we can do it is by increasing these monetary penalties," said Council Member Ron Menor.

Menor is urging legislators to increase the fines for drivers who don't stop for pedestrians from $150 to $300 for the first offense. From $300 to $750 for the second, and from $1000 to $1500 for the third.

The number of pedestrian deaths statewide increased 525 percent from the same time last year according to the Department of Transportation.

As of September, 21 pedestrians died on Oahu roads compared to nine the same time last year.

But will raising fines work?

"I honestly don't think its going to change anything...it might work for some but not for all," said Laarnie Mitamura, a Big Island resident.

"I think its a big problem. I think most of us as drivers, we have certain intuitive things that we stop for like street lights, stop signs, yield signs, but we don't automatically stop at crosswalks," explained Senator Karl Rhoads. 

Rhoads said drivers simply need to make stopping for pedestrians a habit.

But should the responsibility fall solely on the driver?

"I think it's a two-way street. Both the drivers and the pedestrians need to be aware of their surroundings and obviously follow the traffic laws," said Matt Keaveny, a Honolulu resident.

"Whether they're in the right or whether they're in the wrong, legally (pedestrians) are going to lose....you almost never hear of a driver hitting a pedestrian where the driver was injured," said Rhoads.

The resolution still has to go through the legislature. KHON will follow up to see what happens.

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