Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Carlisle to seek stiffer
speeding rules again

The city Prosecutor's Office plans to again ask lawmakers to impose criminal penalties for excessive speeding next year.

Prosecutor Peter Carlisle noted that his office intends to follow up on a criminalization bill to discourage racing. The bill was killed by the state Senate Judiciary Committee this year.

State Sen. Cal Kawamoto and Carlisle called for criminalization during a joint city and state transportation safety summit at the Blaisdell Center yesterday. The summit is a continuation of a public hearing City Council Transportation Chairman Nestor Garcia held in March.

One of three sessions were held yesterday at which community members and city and state officials gave suggestions on stiffer penalties for excessive speeders.

Kawamoto (D, Waipahu) said an organization similar to Mothers Against Drunk Driving is needed to educate the public about the speeding.

"We need mothers against speeding," said Kawamoto.

A highway patrol was another recommendation he suggested to curtail excessive speeders.

This year, lawmakers passed Act 102, allowing judges to revoke a person's driver's license up to five years for speeding more than 90 mph. But Lori Nishimura of the Prosecutor's Office noted that the revocation is at the court's discretion. "It's not mandatory," she said.

She added that the Prosecutor's Office wants to impose mandatory license revocation along with other severe excessive speeding penalties.

"We took a baby step," said Carlisle. "We need to take a bigger step."

As of yesterday, there have been 14 fatal speed-related collisions this year, compared with 13 at the same time last year, according to Sgt. Clyde Yamashiro of the Honolulu Police Department's Traffic Division.

A 20-year-old Honolulu man recently died after he was in a speed-related collision. Andrew Hansen was driving Waianae-bound in a black Acura on the H-1 freeway when he attempted to overtake a silver Acura. Police said the black car collided into the other vehicle and veered into a freeway barrier before the Alexander Street onramp.

Hansen was taken in critical condition to Queen's Medical Center, where he died Friday.

Drunken driving was another topic officials and community members discussed.

Sgt. Robert Lung of the Traffic Division said the public's lax attitude toward drinking and driving needs to change. Lung noted that judges also need to take a tougher approach toward habitual offenders.

"We still have judges that put habitual offenders on probation. We have to change that," said Lung. "We have to do it before they kill someone."

City & County of Honolulu


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