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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, May 16, 2010

On Maui, speeding task force tags 364


By LILA FUJIMOTO
Maui News

WAILUKU, Maui Three days, 364 speeding tickets.

Beyond the numbers, police said they hope last week's three-day speeding crackdown will remind drivers to slow down and be careful on Maui roads.

"Time will tell," said Lt. Michael Kaho'ohanohano, commander of the police Traffic Section. "It seems that people are driving a little bit slower.

"It's helped tremendously by making people recognize what they're doing out there."

In addition to the 364 speeding tickets, traffic officers issued 75 other citations, for driving without a license, seat belt violations and other offenses during the stepped-up enforcement from Tuesday to Thursday, according to a preliminary count. The Operation SPEED total is expected to grow once numbers are included from Lahaina and Kīhei speeding hot spots that were also targeted.

While the focus was on speeding and aggressive driving, officers found other violations and made a few arrests. "Traffic stops are a real avenue to lead to other things drug arrests, warrant arrests," said DUI Task Force Sgt. Jamie Becraft.

The highest speed measured during the enforcement was 94 mph on Haleakalā Highway when task force members caught up with a motorcyclist racing downhill at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

"I know he thought there was no way we would catch up to him," Becraft said. "But this is Maui. Eventually, you're going to run into congestion."

Over the three days, the largest number of speeding citations was issued on Honoapi'ilani Highway in Ma'alaea, where traffic officers tagged 70 drivers, Kaho'ohanohano said. Another 42 speeding citations were issued on the highway in the Waikapu area.

"It's amazing how people drive," DUI Task Force officer Mark Hada said. "People don't drive with aloha anymore. Everyone's concerned about their own agendas." Police used grant money to pay for overtime for part of the speed enforcement.