Rising Death Toll Prompts Plea From Police Chief
The Big Island’s chief of police today issued a personal plea for Big Island motorists to drive with “extreme caution” in the face of the rising death toll on county roads
Chief Harry Kubojiri said so far this year there have been 24 fatalities, two more than for all of 2011.
There have been eight traffic fatalities on the Big Island in the past month alone.
There were a total of 27 fatalities in 2010.
Police are stepping up drunken driving enforcement, and are encouraging the public to arrange for a designated driver if they plan on consuming alcohol. Kubojiri urged motorists to remember that vehicles can be lethal machinery.
Police analysis of traffic fatalities over the past 30 months show that alcohol was a factor in 35 fatal incidents, including five involving pedestrians. Prescription drugs were a factor in another 21 deaths.
Police said other drugs that were found in drivers’ systems included marijuana in 17 fatalities, one of which involved a pedestrian; methamphetamine in six incidents; amphetamines in four fatalities; and cocaine in one incident.
Police said results of toxicology tests in some of the recent deaths are not included.
The figures also don’t include impaired passengers who may have contributed to the accidents.
In many cases, multiple substances were factors in the same crash, Kubojiri said.
“Try to anticipate erratic driving and be mentally prepared for unexpected dangers,” Kubojiri said in a statement issued today. “Practice safe, defensive driving and help reduce needless loss of life. Together, all of us can make a difference as we travel our Big Island roadways.”