Editor’s Scratchpad

Friday, August 31, 2001

Don’t let heavy traffic
jam up your head

In Seattle, a distraught woman caused a huge traffic jam when she climbed on a bridge railing and threatened to jump. As police tried to talk with her, passing motorists, irritated by the delay, hurled insults and obscenities and urged her to leap. The community was horrified by what one sociologist labeled "a rare display of mass incivility."

When Honolulu police closed the eastbound lanes of the H-1 for almost nine hours Sunday because of a fatal accident, many motorists caught in the mess were annoyed, but there were no reports of such shameful behavior. There were complaints, however, about the length of the closure. Police apologized for the shutdown and conceded that officers should have reopened the highway sooner.

The police would have been derelict if they had not catalogued the evidence strewn across four lanes, but the department should have contingency plans to divert traffic in such situations.

Traffic jams can stimulate bad behavior. When they are caused by accidents, the best way to endure is to take a deep breath and be thankful that your loss was of time and not of life.

Cynthia Oi

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