Following simple rules can reduce traffic deaths 04-05-02

PHONE: 961-2305
APRIL 5, 2002


In an effort to curtail further traffic fatalities, Hawaii County police are urging motorists to exercise caution, follow the speed limit and refrain from drinking and driving.

Sergeant Randy Apele, head of the department’s Traffic Services Section, noted that by the end of March, the Big Island had incurred 11 traffic fatalities, compared with three at the same time last year.

The traffic death toll so far this year is the highest since March 1997, when 14 persons had been killed in traffic accidents.

Apele said that of the 11 traffic deaths so far this year, five were attributed primarily to inattention, four to speeding, three to drunk driving and two to failure to yield the right-of-way, noting that some accidents were attributed to more than one primary cause.

In addition, he said, seatbelts were not worn in four of the fatal accidents.

“National studies have shown that people who wear their seatbelts are either less likely to be injured or to suffer less serious injuries than those who don’t wear seatbelts,” Apele said.

“We urge drivers to wear a seatbelt and to make sure their passengers are safely buckled up.”

Two of this year’s fatalities have involved motorcycles, and Apele urged motorists to be aware of motorcyclists. He also urged motorcycle riders to wear helmets and eye protection equipment.

Finally, he said, people who drink should appoint a designated driver who doesn’t drink.

“Most traffic fatalities can be avoided by following well-known, common-sense rules,” Apele said. “The rules are simple — slow down and follow the speed limit, pay attention to your driving, use your seatbelts and don’t drink and try to drive.”

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