HDOT Highway Safety Staff recognized for traffic safety efforts

Posted on Mar 22, 2016 in Highways News, Main, News

HONOLULU – In a recent letter to HDOT, NHTSA Region 9 Administrator Christopher Murphy commended Highway Safety Manager Lee Nagano and her staff and highlighted their achievements as reflected in the HDOT’s Highway Safety Annual Report. Click here for the 2015 Highway Safety Annual Report.

NHTSA Region 9 recognized Hawaii for continuing to rank amongst states with the highest seat belt usage rates in the nation, with a rate of 93 percent in 2015.

Another notable achievement is HDOT’s annual Pedestrian Safety Month. As the only state in the nation with a Pedestrian Safety Month, Hawaii brings awareness to communities statewide through pedestrian and driver education activities every day throughout the month of August, in addition to the year-round education conducted by the Walk Wise Hawaii program.

“I would like to echo Administrator Murphy’s commendation of the hard work and passion our Highway Safety Staff put into making Hawaii’s roads safer for all users,” said Ford Fuchigami, HDOT Director. “Even though there have been increases in our state’s population and the amount of vehicles on our roadways, we are fortunate to have seen decreases in our traffic fatalities.”

In 2013, there were 102 traffic fatalities in Hawaii; that number decreased to 95 in 2014. Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities also decreased from 34 in 2013 to 32 in 2014. And despite an estimated 10 percent surge in pedestrian deaths nationally, Hawaii’s numbers remain steady (according to a report released this week by the Governors Highway Safety Association).

Key factors that may be credited with the decrease in fatalities are education, media outreach and partnerships. HDOT works with many different agencies to promote traffic safety and enforce traffic laws, including the four county police departments, the county prosecutors’ offices, Hawaii State Department of Health, the City and County of Honolulu Department of Transportation Services, traffic advocacy groups and private companies. HDOT’s traffic safety partners collaborate on such initiatives as the “Click It or Ticket” and “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaigns, as well as the development and implementation of Hawaii’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan, which is a comprehensive five-year plan that prioritizes strategies focusing efforts and resources in eight emphasis areas (speeding; impaired driving; pedestrian and bicycle safety; motorcycle safety; first responders; data and systems management; lane departure and intersection safety; and occupant protection).

“Working together with all of our partners is vital to ensure that our traveling public is safe, but we also need to thank our roadway users for following traffic laws and using common sense practices like driving cautiously and designating a sober driver,” Fuchigami said. “Together, we can move toward the goal of reducing traffic fatalities to zero.”

To view the letter from NHTSA click here.