Hawaii considers ways to combat traffic-related deaths

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii lawmakers have proposed initiatives to help reduce the number of traffic-related fatalities after transportation officials confirmed more than 100 deaths in the last year.

Those initiatives include installing traffic cameras to capture drivers running red lights and enforcing zero-tolerance policies for drinking and driving.

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“Every year, you hear of a horrific pedestrian accident that’s occurring at an intersection because someone did not stop at a red light,” state House Speaker Scott Saiki said.

The cameras would automatically record anyone who runs a red light, and a ticket would then be mailed to the address associated with the license plate number, officials said.

“There could potentially be a bench warrant for someone who doesn’t appear or who doesn’t respond to the ticket,” Saiki said. “And if you have a bench warrant, potentially there could be some jail time.”

The initiatives came after the state Department of Transportation confirmed 106 deaths in the last year, officials said.

Lawmakers have also proposed a zero-tolerance law meaning driving while under the influence of any amount of alcohol would become illegal.

People can currently be charged with drunken driving when the alcohol in their blood is 0.08% or higher, officials said.

Senate Transportation Committee Chair Lorraine Inouye introduced the zero-tolerance policy, along with a measure to lower the legal limit to 0.05%.

“I did introduce it for the purpose of hearing the measure,” Inouye said. “I have an open mind.”

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Mothers Against Drunk Driving have not yet released a position on the zero-tolerance policy, but the founder of the state chapter supports lowering the limit.

“I think that the 0.05% is enough of a decrease from where we are now, 0.08%. That will get people’s attention,” said Carol McNamee. “It’s really the average, the mode for most of the world.”

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