And yet another cutesy-titled Maui Police campaign has come to a close. You can breathe easier, kids: the MPD’s 14-day “Stop or Get Stopped” push against people who run red lights and stop signs is over.
“As with all of our traffic enforcement campaigns our goal is to raise awareness, educate the public as well as our officers, and to gain voluntary compliance,” MPD Officer Nick Krau, the department’s DUI Task Force supervisor, said in an Oct. 20 press release. “By working together we can drastically reduce traffic collisions and reach our ultimate goal of zero preventable traffic deaths.”
According to the press release, MPD officers wrote 562 citations and made 32 DUI arrests during the operation, which involved increased surveillance at various intersections around the county. Of those citations, 64 percent (359 citations) were for running a red light or stop sign, 24 percent (134) were for having no auto insurance and the remaining 12 percent (69) were for driving without a license.
“We conduct these traffic enforcement campaigns because we, as police officers, have an obligation to ensure that we are doing everything in our power to reduce traffic injuries and fatalities in our community,” Krau added in the Oct. 20 news release. “Although this campaign has come to an end, the impact and awareness raised during this short initiative will continue to reduce traffic collisions and improve the safety on our roadways for quite some time.”
This is a nice sentiment–especially since 19 people have, so far this year, died on Maui’s roads. The last time we saw such numbers was 2012, and when that year was over, 20 people had died in Maui County traffic collisions (last year, 11 people died in Maui County road accidents). As trends are going, it’s a fair bet that we’ll beat the 2012 figure easily this year.
The problem is running red lights or stop signs doesn’t seem to be causing many fatalities here. Looking over Maui PD press releases and various local news stories from the past year, the same phrases keep appearing when looking at the factors that caused the collisions: “loses control,” “excessive speed” and “drugs and alcohol.”
About four years ago in Northern California, I took a one-day driving school class after getting a speeding ticket. “Do you know the number one cause of highway accidents in the nation?” our instructor asked us. “Unsafe lane changes.”
Monitoring the county’s intersections is easy (so easy, in fact, that many Mainland cities simply have automated ticket-writing cameras do the job, though those operations tend to exist solely to generate revenue). Getting people to drive safely? Yeah, good luck with that.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons