HDOT NEWS RELEASE: Hawaii Department of Transportation reminds everyone to arrive alive this holiday season

Posted on Dec 15, 2015 in Latest News, Newsroom, Press Releases

HONOLULU – Celebrate the holidays with plenty of good cheer, but don’t forget to use good judgment and be aware of your surroundings when driving, walking or bicycling.  The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) is asking all roadway users to place a priority on safety so everyone returns home to their family and friends.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), preliminary data for 2015 shows an increase in traffic related fatalities nationally.  In contrast, Hawaii’s traffic fatalities are trending downward, with 95 motor vehicle fatalities in 2014 – the lowest in 40 years, and 91 fatalities in 2015 to date, according to state data.

“We are pleased with the reduction in traffic fatalities,” said Ford Fuchigami HDOT Director.  “It shows that we can make a difference by working together between agencies, advocacy groups and, most of all, our friends and family in the community.  Please help us continue this safety trend.  Even one death is too many.”

Due to an increase in drunk-driving-related fatalities around the holidays each year, police will be stepping up the number of patrols and setting up roadblocks during the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” national mobilization (December 18, 2015 through January 3, 2016).  If caught, drivers will be arrested.

In addition, law enforcement officers statewide will be actively looking for drivers violating other traffic laws.  Arrest is not the intent of enforcement; it’s the hope that high visibility police presence will remind everyone to make better and safer decisions.

“Driving while impaired; driving while distracted; driving recklessly and speeding; and not ensuring that everyone is buckled up are choices that are made, not accidents,” said Ed Sniffen HDOT Highways Division Deputy Director.  “The majority of the fatalities on our roads are directly related to these choices.  Please make good choices to help all of our family, friends and visitors make it home safely to their loved ones during this holiday season.”

HDOT and our county and community partners urge drivers, motorcycle operators and bicyclists to follow these tips to keep the holidays merry and bright:

  • Make a plan for a safe way home before you attend that office party or holiday event.  If you plan on drinking, designate a sober driver (not the person who’s had the least to drink) ahead of time and leave your keys at home.
  • If you have been drinking, do not drive.  Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.  Try NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, which allows users to call a taxi or a friend and identifies their location so that they can be picked up.  The free, mobile app is available for Android devices on Google Play and for Apple devices on the iTunes store.
  • Obey all posted speed limits and follow all traffic laws.  
  • Focus all of your attention on driving, rather than being distracted by your cellular phone, the radio, other passengers in the car, etc.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.  Keep an eye out for pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists and other drivers, especially in blind spots and areas where other roadway users may not be clearly visible from all angles.
  • Always buckle up, every ride, every time.  Make sure that all of your passengers are buckled up, too.

    For more information on HDOT and its traffic safety partners’ initiatives to reduce traffic related injuries and fatalities, please visit http://www.hawaiishsp.com/