Saturday, November 3, 2001

Traffic deaths on Oahu
racing past 2000’s total

By Nelson Daranciang

Traffic fatalities on Oahu this year have already equaled the total for all of last year -- with the holiday season still to come.

On the neighbor islands, traffic fatalities are either keeping pace with or running behind last year's figures.

But on Oahu, there have been 66 traffic fatalities so far this year, the same number for all of last year. In 1999, there were 47 traffic fatalities on Oahu for the year.

On the Big Island this year there have been 23 fatalities versus 31 for the same period in 2000. On Maui, there have been 18 fatalities so far, the same number over the same period last year. And there were four fatalities on Kauai this year, versus five at this time last year.

Honolulu police traffic investigators attribute 24 of this year's Oahu fatalities to inattention, 23 to speed, five to alcohol or drug use and 14 to a combination of speed and alcohol or drug use.

Lt. Charles Hirata, of Maui's Police Department Traffic Division, said he thinks enforcement of traffic laws had something to do with the number of fatalities, " to a degree."

But in Honolulu, traffic investigators said they see no correlation between traffic enforcement and fatalities.

All counties have seen the number of fatalities go up and down without any apparent trend in the last 10 years.

"Sometimes it's just plain luck, or bad luck," Hirata said.

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