How We Can Make Roads Safer

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - December 08, 2010

Traffic fatalities are on the rise on Oahu. We are on track to far outnumber last year’s loss of life on our roadways. The published response from the Honolulu Police Department that there will be an increase in patrols, checkpoints, etc., was expected.

The solution, though, isn’t necessarily found in increased law enforcement, but in drivers and pedestrians.

Let’s be honest. Some of you drivers are menaces on the roadway and you know who you are. You’re the one swerving in and out of traffic, speeding excessively, cutting people off and drinking while driving. You are a threat not only to yourselves, but to every single person you encounter.

But it’s not just the drivers. It’s you, the pedestrian, too. We all have seen the pedestrian who darts out into traffic trying to cross a busy road. How about the pedestrian who walks obliviously into the road with iPod earbuds showing? And why in the world would you even consider trying to beat a red light when you are competing with tons of steel?

We cannot rely on government (in this case, the police department) to solve all our problems. We have to exhibit some sense of accountability. If you know of someone who drives like a stark raving maniac, you must use your access and influence to change his or her behavior. I’d recommend using graphic photographs to make your point. Show them the picture and tell them this is a consequence of dangerous behavior behind the wheel. You could boycott riding with the psychotic driver. Force them to give you the keys so you can drive safely. If you have a child who is driving recklessly, then take the damn car away! After all, you are the parent.

A panacea? Hardly, but if we are going to make our streets safer, we need to make the changes. And based on the escalating loss of life on our roads, we’d better make some changes now.

three star

I will not claim that I was a friend of Al Masini, but I did have the chance to spend some time with him on my radio program, and we had the occasional social encounter. It’s rare to meet people who are in the super strata of their respective industries (especially in entertainment) who are genuinely as down-to-earth and just plain nice as Mr. Masini.

It’s not often that I get star-struck, but when speaking to Mr. Masini, his legendary status was not lost on me. Yes, like many, I grew up watching Star Search and Solid Gold, and I still catch Entertainment Tonight from time to time.

But what impressed me the most about Mr. Masini was there was never a whiff of stereotypical pomposity or snobbery that one, fairly or unfairly, associates with Hollywood elite. As a matter of fact, he was the antithesis to “being Hollywood.” After his relocation to Hawaii, he became a part of the rhythm of the Islands and personified the ideals of the Aloha Spirit.

Aloha, Mr. Masini, and thank you ...

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