Latest traffic fatality numbers on Oahu released
Police caution drivers to be more careful
We are only six weeks into 2013 and, at the rate we're going, we could see a new high in the number of people killed in traffic accidents on Oahu's roads.
Honolulu Police are hoping people heed their message on safety before the toll rises again.
Oahu's first traffic fatality came four days into the new year. Kirk Bowman, 60, of Waianae was killed when he was struck by a truck crossing Farrington Highway.
By Jan. 10, Herbert Muraoka, 83, of Honolulu was Oahu's fourth traffic fatality. He died at the scene when his car slammed into the back of a tow truck on the Pali Highway.
And just in the last week of January, three people were killed: a 17-year-old moped rider, a 49-year-old female pedestrian and an 83-year-old woman run over by a garbage truck.
"There's no real common theme that we can isolate to get that message out," said Major Kurt Kendro of the Honolulu Police Department's traffic division.
To date, there have been 11 traffic fatalities on Oahu's roads. Last year at this time there were 8. Nine in 2011.
Breaking it down by types of traffic fatalities, there have been 2 motorcyclists killed, 2 moped riders, 1 man killed when he jumped out of a moving car and 6 pedestrian fatalities.
HPD said some of the deaths could have been prevented. Wearing seat belts or helmets they said might have saved lives.
Having pedestrians be alert of what's going on around them and not assume vehicles always see them may have helped some. But the responsibility, police said, lies with everyone who uses the roads.
"Our message is the same whether you're a driver, whether you're a pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist, just to be safe out there, be defensive and be aware of your surroundings," said Kendro.
Shocking as the numbers are, it's not the highest. The highest traffic fatality count was in 1990 with 89 deaths in one year. But police are hoping to not see a repeat this year.
The neighbor islands also are seeing a bump in traffic fatalities. Big Island police report seven traffic fatalities so far this year compared to zero this same time last year. Kauai reported its first traffic fatality this past week. Maui police reported one traffic death so far this year.
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