Maui Police Urge Motorists Drive Smart, 4 Deaths in 8 Days
By Wendy Osher
The Maui Police Department issued a statement today urging motorists to “drive smart” by slowing down, buckling up, and putting their phones away.
The advisory comes on the heels of four traffic fatalities in eight days on Maui County roads. It also comes amid the department’s increased enforcement effort involving distracted driving, as part of the national “U Drive U Text U Pay” campaign. According to new information compiled by police, they have issued 215 citations for the infraction in April alone.
Of the seven fatalities so far this year, three involved motorcycles, one crash involved a pedestrian, two were passengers, and the most recent crash on Saturday, April 12, involved a bicyclist who was struck by a pickup truck on the Piʻilani Highway.
Police say speed is believed to be involved in at least three of the fatal crashes on Maui so far this year. Authorities say toxicology results are still pending to determine whether alcohol or drugs contributed to any of the incidents.
In one of the fatal crashes reported on Tuesday, March 18, 2014, at the Honoapiʻilani Highway/Shaw Street intersection, police say the passenger only used the shoulder belt and not the lap belt. In that crash, police say the passenger’s upper body was restrained while the lower body was not.
The Traffic Section is also investigating two other crashes that were reported as near fatal crashes this year, including one in which a 52-year-old Haʻikū woman suffered life-threatening injuries when she was struck by a vehicle while walking on Kokomo Road in Haʻikū on March 10, 2014.
Police say both of the crashes remain under investigation; however drugs and alcohol have been ruled out in both incidents.
So far this year, police say they have arrested 234 drivers for operating a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant. Police have also issued 790 speeding citations, 414 cell phone citations, and 827 seat belt citations, according to information compiled and released by the department.
“People need to be reminded to drive safe, use a designated driver when drinking and most of all drive responsibly,” said Maui police Traffic Section commander, Lieutenant Ricky C. Uedoi in a press release.