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Hawaiʻi traffic-related deaths increased 11% in 2021 from year before

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The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation reports 94 traffic-related deaths on Hawaiʻi roads in 2021 as a result of 94 crashes. These figures are up from 2020 (85 fatalities), when nationwide traffic fatalities trended up, but down from the 108 fatalities recorded for 2019.

Driving under the influence, speed, and distracted driving were top contributors to Hawaiʻi’s traffic fatalities in 2021. That trend is continuing as 2022 begins to unfold, with preliminary data showing a majority of the 16 fatalities for the month of January (as of this posting), resulting from unlawful and avoidable behavior on the road.

“I would like to stop talking about fatalities as numbers and start talking about how we can save people’s lives by doing something as easy as following the law,” said Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation Deputy Director for Highways Ed Sniffen. “That’s why we’re targeting strategies such as raised crosswalks and roundabouts that reduce speeds in corridors to minimize the potential for fatalities when someone messes up. The faster the vehicle involved in a collision is traveling, the less likely it is that the person hit will survive. 9 out of 10 people hit by a car at 20 mph will live—double the speed to 40 mph and only 1 out of 10 survive.”

HDOT’s highway safety strategy aligns with the Federal Highways Administration Safe System approach that sets a target of zero traffic fatalities.

The preliminary traffic fatalities may change based on the outcome of medical or other reports on recent motor vehicle crashes.

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Traffic Fatality Data from Jan, 1, 2021 through Dec. 31, 2021

*Includes 1 electric bike classified as a moped. PC: state Department of Transportation
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Traffic Fatality Data from Jan. 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020

PC: state Department of Transportation

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