Letters 11-12-2012

Traffic fatalities

Highway patrol needed

Regarding the incredibly high death rate on our roads this year (35 dead compared to 16 last year) it is time for the county to create a highway patrol in the Police Department.

We are just about the only state that does not have a police highway patrol and these very high accident rates are clear evidence that one is needed.

A highway patrol’s sole mission is constantly to be on the road looking for trouble such as speeders, drunks, road rage, etc. Under the current program, police officers are only on the highways as they go from place to place investigating crimes. If they see a traffic problem, it’s only because it was on their way to someplace else.

As a recent newspaper article stated, “Any additional enforcement comes from time management, not pulling officers from their duties.”

One police officer told me, “If I see a traffic problem, I need to decide if I should stop and deal with it, or continue on where I was going. If I stop, I know it’s going to add more to my already full work plate, so maybe I just let it go.”

I don’t blame the officer, his main job is not highway patrol, he may be on his way to investigate a burglary, or going after a drug dealer — does he really have time to worry about the car that just ran a red light?

On the other hand a highway patrol’s only job is to deal with road and traffic issues; the sole focus is cruising the highways looking for problems.

A dedicated highway patrol has no other place to go, its job site would be the roads of the Big Island 24 hours a day.

How many more deaths is it going to take before our county government realizes we need a highway patrol? One may ask, “how can we afford this?”

How can we not afford this?

John Young


Siren failures

There is no perfection

I fundamentally agree with Ms. Loofbourrow’s letter in your recent edition.

However, comparing an early warning system to a fetal monitor, an MRI or any other piece of sensitive hospital equipment is ridiculous.

Hospital equipment does not exist outdoors, where it is exposed to the elements 365 days a year. It is not exposed to the wind and the rain. It is in a confined environment and not spread out over hundreds of miles.

The early warning system is not a hospital fire alarm so easily checked, alarm to alarm. Even during monthly tests there cannot be somebody standing in front of every siren to make sure it is functioning — and glitches do occur where they are monitored.

We all wish the volcano would stop erupting, streetlights would never burn out, power lines would not be knocked down or accidentally dug up — and we had world peace.

We would love perfection in all things at all times. But it doesn’t work that way.

Gregory Miller