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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, May 24, 2005


State traffic-safety campaigns under way for the summer

By Mike Leidemann
Advertiser Transportation Writer

Summer always brings a renewed surge in traffic safety initiatives. This year is no exception.

A number of groups in Hawai'i and across the nation announced new programs recently to keep pedestrians and drivers safe during the upcoming months. Here's a quick look at some of the efforts.

Crosswalks. City officials yesterday dedicated a new crosswalk on Young Street that they say will help senior citizens safely get around the area.

The new crosswalk, painted at a cost of about $600 near Kaheka Street, had been sought by neighborhood residents to give them easy access to a new park and thrift store in the area.

Seat belts. Police in all four counties yesterday began a new crackdown on drivers and passengers not wearing their seat belts.

This year's annual Click It or Ticket campaign, funded with federal money, is aimed especially at young drivers and those in pickup trucks, two groups that do not have especially good rates of seat-belt use.

Under a new state law, violators could end up paying $92 in fines and fees. The campaign runs through June 5.

Teenagers. Drive for Life, the National Safe Driving test and initiative, is asking parents across the county to regulate their teens' time on the road more closely this summer.

Noting that the 101 days from Memorial Day to Labor Day are a time when teen driving, crashes and fatalities all spike, the group is urging parents to make more time to supervise their teens' driving, extend driving privileges gradually and limit passengers and night driving. Nationally, the teen death toll is highest in July and August.

Mass transit: The American Public Transportation Association, which represents the nation's mass-transit programs, is urging its members to come up with new programs to help senior citizens.

The "Easy Rider" initiative calls on local transit agencies to find ways to make senior citizens feel more comfortable about using the bus or rail. Suggested ideas include special routes that serve senior residences and destinations, door-to-door service, training to help seniors make better use of the bus and free or reduced-price passes for seniors.

Rental cars. OK, this isn't a safety issue, but it's one many people have experienced.

Gov. Linda Lingle yesterday signed into law a bill that exempts Hawai'i residents from a rental car surcharge when their own car is under repair.

Lawmakers said the surcharge was originally intended to apply only to visitors, but it was extended to residents during the late 1990s, when the state budget was lean. Now with the economy growing again, lawmakers said they wanted to exempt residents from paying the $3 a day fee.

Reach Mike Leidemann at 525-5460 or mleidemann@honoluluadvertiser.com.