LIHUE — The Kauai Police Department issued 3,199 more traffic citations in 2014 compared to the year before.
There were 23,407 moving violations issued last year, compared to 20,208 in 2013.
Kauai Chief of Police Darryl Perry said the consistency in traffic incidents and violations is a sign enforcement is working. There were slight increases in the number of accidents, injuries and fatalities from 2013, but the numbers are close over the past four years.
“The consistency of the stats are a product of our commitment to keeping our community safe,” Perry said.
KPD credits a sustained enforcement effort for keeping injuries and deaths from accidents relatively stable over several years despite the increased congestion.
There were eight traffic fatalities in 2014, seven in 2013, eight in 2012 and six in 2011. Four of the fatal accidents happened in Lihue. Hanalei and Koloa were the other locations.
The number of traffic-related injuries went up by 10 — 282 in 2014.
According to KPD, there wasn’t one consistent cause in the accidents, such as drinking, speeding, weather or road or vehicle conditions. Alcohol and drugs were contributing factors in less than half of the accidents.
Among the biggest jumps in the increased tickets were speeding and using an electronic device while driving.
There were 2,887 speeding tickets issued last year, 446 more than the 2,472 handed out in 2013. That compares to 1,910 in 2012 and 3,673 in 2011.
More drivers are texting or talking on their cellphones after the law went into effect in late 2010. There were 1,214 citations issued in 2014, a jump of 215 from the previous year. In 2012, there were 870 tickets issued.
Drunken driving arrests went down — recording its lowest total in the last four years. Operating a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant (OVUII) arrests totaled 214 last year. Eighty-four were in the Hanalei district, 47 in Lihue, 41 in Waimea, and 42 islandwide by Traffic Safety Bureau.
There were 259 OVUII arrests in 2013, 232 in 2012, and 221 in 2011.
“I have no doubt that the hundreds of arrests for drunk driving, and citations issued to speeders have saved many lives,” Perry said.
He said alcohol is one of the consistent factors in accidents and a priority to crackdown on. Speed, distractions, recklessness and seat belt noncompliance are others. There were a combined 1,504 seat belt and child restraint violations handed out in 2014. Parking tickets comprised 2,567 more of all violations.
“From my experience, if we reduced our efforts in any area, serious collisions and fatalities would certainly increase,” Perry said.
The department doesn’t track whether there’s a correlation between traffic incidents with the rise in visitor arrivals or other factors.