DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
A pedestrian-fatality exhibit was unveiled yesterday on the state Capitol lawn, with 156 pairs of slippers representing pedestrian fatalities in Hawaii over the past five years. CLICK FOR LARGE
Sleepy driver hits 2 pedestrians
A boy and man at a bus stop are hurt as Lingle urges tougher penalties for motorists
A man and a boy standing on the side of Kalanianaole Highway in Waimanalo were seriously injured by a truck yesterday as Gov. Linda Lingle again proposed stiffer penalties for motorists failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
A 29-year-old Waimanalo woman told police she had fallen asleep at the wheel of her 6,900-pound pickup truck when she struck an 11-year-old Waimanalo boy and a 51-year-old Kailua man standing at a bus stop about 4 p.m.
The boy was taken in critical condition to the Queen's Medical Center, while the man was taken in serious but stable condition, said Bryan Cheplic of the city Emergency Services Department. Police later said the boy and the man were upgraded to stable condition.
The 2006 blue Chevy Silverado truck, headed toward Kailua, also plowed into the concrete bench of the bus stop on Kalanianaole Highway near Kaiona Beach Park in Waimanalo, police said.
Lingle's announcement came at the opening of an exhibit at the state Capitol to raise awareness for pedestrian safety in Hawaii. The exhibit features 156 pairs of slippers representing the number of pedestrian fatalities in the state over the past five years. It will remain at the Capitol for two weeks. The state Department of Transportation is looking for other venues for the exhibit after that.
/ SPECIAL TO THE STAR-BULLETIN
Police traffic investigators surveyed a truck that struck an 11-year-old boy and 51-year-old man in Waimanalo yesterday. CLICK FOR LARGE
So far this year, four pedestrians have died on Oahu roadways after they were struck by vehicles in separate incidents.
Two of the victims were walking in marked crosswalks, one was crossing in the middle of a street and one was sitting at a bus stop. All were 73 years or older.
"Less than three weeks into the new year, our community is mourning the loss of three kupuna who were simply trying to cross the street," Lingle said.
In 2005, Hawaii had the fourth-highest rate of pedestrian fatalities in the country per capita, according to statistics compiled by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. But the state is first among people age 60 and older, said Barbara Kim Stanton, AARP Hawaii director.
Proposed increased penalties for drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk:
First offense: $150 fine, 90-day license revocation
Second offense: $300 fine, 180-day license revocation
Third offense: $1,000 fine, 1-year license revocation, 30 days in prison
Current Maximum Penalties
First offense: $200 fine
Second offense: $300 fine
Third offense: $500 fine
Under current law, drivers are required to stop and yield when pedestrians in crosswalks are on their half of the roadway or when pedestrians on the opposite half are so close as to be in danger.
Lingle wants violators to face mandatory minimum penalties of a $150 fine and 90-day license revocation for their first offense; $300 fine and 180-day license revocation for a second offense; and $1,000 fine, license revocation for one year and 30 days in jail for a third offense committed within a year.
Current maximum fines are $200 for a first offense, $300 for a second offense within one year and $500 a third offense within a year. There are no provisions for license revocation or for imprisonment.
House Transportation Chairman Joseph Souki (D, Waihee-Wailuku) said he will take another look at increasing penalties this year. But he said he is not sure they will make a difference.
"We need to make the elderly more attentive. They're old, they walk slow and drivers are not paying attention," he said.
Souki said more pedestrian deaths can be prevented with greater enforcement. One way to do that, he said, is installing cameras at intersections to catch motorists who run red lights.
Last year, Souki tied his red-light camera proposal to legislation that would have increased penalties for violating the state's crosswalk law. Neither passed.