Posted at 5:08 p.m., Saturday, August 18, 2007
Maui police plan reckless driving enforcement effort
By LILA FUJIMOTO
The Maui News
The citations were issued as part of Operation SPEED, carried out by patrol officers working mainly in West Maui but also on other parts of the island, said Capt. Charles Hirata, commander of the Lahaina Patrol District.
His message to motorists: "We're on an island, for goodness sake. Drive like you're living on one."
The Lahaina citation totals were separate from the 482 citations for speeding and other offenses that were issued by Maui Police Department traffic officers and other patrol officers during three days of Operation SPEED, a program of increased enforcement on Maui highways conducted July 16 to 18.
In addition to 122 speeding tickets, Lahaina officers issued six tickets for excessive speeding, which provides for increased penalties when someone drives at least 30 mph above the speed limit or at least 80 mph.
During the special enforcement effort, one driver was clocked traveling 85 mph in a 45-mph zone on Honoapi'ilani Highway in Ma'alaea, Hirata said.
He said more drivers seem to be aware of the increased penalties, including license suspensions and potential jail time, for an excessive speeding conviction.
"It's getting a little bit harder to find excessive speeders," Hirata said. "But they're still out there."
At 3:15 a.m. Monday, Lahaina patrol officer Marvin Kalani Miles arrested a 27-year-old Kahului man after seeing a Wailuku-bound 2007 Nissan pickup truck traveling 110 mph in a 45-mph zone on Honoapi'ilani Highway between Mile Markers 12 and 13, Hirata said.
He said the truck was seen overtaking other vehicles on the highway before the officer stopped the truck at Papalaua Wayside Park. The man was charged with excessive speeding and reckless driving.
Other citations issued during the enforcement last month included 27 for stop-sign violations, 10 for running a red light and six for illegally overtaking.
When there's an officer available, Lahaina police are responding to reports from citizens of reckless driving in the district, Hirata said.
"We would prefer that people give us details and identify the people when we stop them," he said. "At least then we can make a case and forward it to the prosecutor's office."
In order to cite a driver, officers responding to a report of speeding or reckless driving must observe violations or have other evidence such as witnesses willing to testify about what they observed.
Drivers can be cited for any traffic violation that's seen by an officer, Hirata said. At times, he said, officers responding to reckless driving reports have arrested drivers on warrants or for driving without a license.
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