Crackdown targets speeding
HPD creates a task force to cut down on the "carnage on our roadways"
Honolulu police have formed a task force to discourage traffic-related deaths due to speeding because the number of fatalities could become the highest in more than a decade.
Eighty-two people died in 75 collisions that occurred so far this year, as of yesterday. Among the incidents:
» Thirty-seven, or 49 percent, involved speeding.
» Nine, or 12 percent, involved alcohol.
» Five, or 6.7 percent, involved a combination of alcohol and speeding.
Source: Honolulu Police Department
"I think enough is enough and we have to do something about it," Honolulu Police Chief Boisse Correa said at a news conference yesterday at the main Honolulu Police Station.
So far, nearly half of the traffic-related deaths occurring on Oahu this year were attributed to speeding. Thirty-seven, or 49 percent, of 75 fatal collisions that occurred this year involved speeding.
Members of the task force were to start cracking down on speeders last night at undisclosed locations and times. Correa would not specify what areas they plan to focus on, but said task force members will cover the entire island.
More police visibility is needed to curb speeding on the roadways, Correa said.
The task force is to continue strict enforcement throughout the holiday season and possibly longer. With the upcoming holiday season, "we want to make sure that people get home safely," Correa said.
This is the largest task force Correa has initiated since he was named chief two years ago. "It's a major, major push for us," he said.
Police officers from various parts of the department, except for the Patrol Division, were assigned to the task force. Correa declined to say how many officers are involved.
So far, 82 traffic-related fatalities have occurred this year, compared with 66 traffic-related deaths at the same time last year and 56 a year before.
The number of traffic-related deaths is the highest it has been since 1995, when 85 deaths occurred.
Correa recalled how a task force was created in the late 1970s or early 1980s after traffic-related deaths peaked at 118 in 1979. Deaths on the roadways did not occur for three months following the creation of the task force, he said.
"I'm not saying that's going to happen now, but we have to make the effort to try to cut back on some of this carnage on our roadways," he said.
Capt. Robert Green of District 7 was assigned as the commander of the task force, while Maj. Susan Dowsett, head of the Traffic Division, was assigned as the coordinator of the task force.
Correa held a meeting last week after two people died in two separate collisions that occurred Friday in Wahiawa and Ala Moana. One of the two collisions involved speeding.
Waianae's Adlai K. Florence, 25, died after he was involved in a collision involving three vehicles Friday. Florence died of multiple traumatic injuries sustained in the crash, according to the Department of the Medical Examiner.
On Oct. 22, two separate crashes attributed to speeding claimed the lives of two passengers, Bobby Gouveia, 18, and Joahl Mirafuentes, 19.
The number of traffic-related fatalities so far this year have already exceeded the total of last year's figure by four, Dowsett said. "We have too many people dying."
With the holiday season approaching, she encouraged the public to have a designated driver and for parents to talk to their teens about driving responsibly.
Oftentimes, teens think they are infallible, Dowsett said. "You never know."