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7 fatalities caused by auto accidents so far this year on Maui

Some motor vehicle crashes are truly accidents, but too many are caused by reckless behavior on the part of a driver. One Hawaiian island is experiencing an uptick in fatal car crashes, and law enforcement officials are responding as best they can to try to get drivers to focus on safety.

Police on Maui issued an advisory to motorists cautioning them to buckle their seat belts, put their cell phones away and drive at safe speeds. Seven fatalities due to car accidents occurred on the island as of April 14. Four of the deaths happened over an eight-day period.

Two of the recent fatalities involved motorcycles; two of the people who died were passengers in a car; one pedestrian was killed; and a collision between a bicyclist and a pickup truck took the cyclist's life. A lack of seatbelt protection is believed to have contributed to at least one of the deaths, as the person killed was wearing a shoulder belt but no lap belt.

Police believe that excessive speeds played a role in at least three of the accidents, but investigators are still uncertain of whether any of the drivers involved in the accidents were intoxicated. Drugs and alcohol were ruled out in two near-fatal crashes that also occurred during this time.

Although it is unknown whether texting played a role in any of the crashes, cell phone use on the island is definitely an issue. Between April 1 and April 14, local police gave out a total of 215 citations for texting and driving.

Car accidents, especially those due to recklessness or negligence, can have lifelong consequences for those involved. Those who are injured or killed are often innocent bystanders. In many cases, victims or their families find it necessary to take legal action to hold drivers and their insurance companies responsible for the losses caused by a crash.

Source: MauiNow.com, "Maui Police Urge Motorists Drive Smart, 4 Deaths in 8 Days," Wendy Osher, April 14, 2014

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