Traffic fatalities get 2009 off to 'bad start'


POSTED: Friday, January 09, 2009

If the first week is any indication, 2009 could see a high number of traffic fatalities on Oahu. Five people have already been killed in accidents, and although accidents often occur around the holidays, the three on New Year's Day were the most for that day in the past three years.

Motorists should not have to be reminded about the responsibilities of taking the wheel, but many drive thoughtlessly anyway, perhaps believing accidents happen only to other people.

Police had hoped that the occurrence of fewer traffic deaths in 2008 - there were 46 fatalities then, compared to 67 in 2007 - would continue this year. However, as police Maj. Frank Fujii said, “;we're off to a very bad start.”;

Two accidents involved motorcyclists. Two other people died in automobile crashes, while another victim was a bicyclist who was hit by a car. Police say alcohol or drug use were factors in at least two of the fatalities.

Such statistics might not matter much to the friends and families of the dead. Their losses are painful regardless. Just the same, the deaths should deliver a message for anyone who drives.