Hawaii traffic safety partners urge everyone to be safe this Labor Day weekend

Posted on Sep 4, 2020 in Highways News, Main, News

HONOLULU – The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT), in collaboration with the Hawaii Trauma System, first responders, and other traffic safety partners statewide, urge everyone to limit driving for only essential activities during the Labor Day Weekend.

“Let’s honor all frontline workers working this Labor Day weekend by limiting driving to essential trips,” Hawaii Department of Transportation Deputy Director of Highways Ed Sniffen said. “If you must drive, we ask you to take measures to stay safe and avoid tragedy on our roads. You can do this by slowing down, wearing your seat belt, and driving sober to help us all get home safely.”

Although fewer cars are on our roadways, there has been a significant increase in excessive speeding and aggressive driving, and Hawaii is still seeing fatal crashes occurring in all counties. According to preliminary state data, our State has recorded 60 traffic fatalities, compared to 71 at the same time last year even with an average 30-percent reduction in traffic volume during the respective state and county COVID-19 orders.

“As the State and counties move towards reducing the spread and impact of COVID-19, our first responders and trauma providers on the frontlines are overwhelmed with helping our communities combat this virus, as well as addressing other types of injuries and trauma,” Strategic Highway Safety Plan Core Committee chairperson Kari Benes said.  “Handling a relatively high level of preventable traffic-related injuries adds to this burden and may stretch already limited healthcare resources.”

chart showing EMS encounters by type

Hawaii’s health care workers, first responders, the Hawaii Department of Transportation, the Hawaii Department of Health, county police departments, MADD Hawaii and many other stakeholders are working collaboratively to address our communities’ most pressing traffic safety issues, including speeding and impaired driving.  This multidisciplinary group collaborated to create the Hawaii Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP), a five-year plan that embraces the five Es of safety – engineering, education, enforcement, emergency medical services and everyone else – and provides strategies to improve safety on all of Hawaii’s public roads.  For more information about the SHSP, visit https://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/shsp

Safe travel tips:

Hawaii’s emergency health care workers and traffic safety partners urge Hawaii’s roadway users to:

  • Limit transportation to essential travel
  • Slow down and obey the speed limits
  • Always buckle up – every trip, day and night, year round
  • Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even one alcoholic beverage can slow reaction times and impair judgement.
  • If allowed by your county’s COVID-19 rules, use your community’s sober ride program, public transit, taxi, or rideshare.