BYU-Hawaii students living off campus said frequent car accidents occur along Kamehameha Highway because of poor housing locations, inconsiderate drivers and the narrow highway.
Kailey Trussel, a senior in psychology from Washington, said she has lived across from Hukilau beach for the past year and has witnessed multiple car accidents, one ending with a vehicle in her front door.
“I remember it being 6:30 in the morning and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, the whole house shook, almost like an earthquake and I heard a loud bang. My first thought was that a gun had been shot,” said Trussel. “I didn’t have my glasses on, but I went to [the] window to see what had happened.
“I looked down and saw a car right in the bottom of the house with a woman waving her arms at me saying, ‘I’ve never done anything like this before, I am sorry.’
“I remember there were five points of impact. The Laie sign, our fence, two cars, and our front porch. All because a woman swerved to miss a dog.”
Connor McCombs, a junior studying business management from California, said, “What’s life without a little danger? The highway is as dangerous as any. We just happen to live right on it.”
McCombs said while the accidents are unfortunate, he doesn’t think there is a whole lot students can do about it. He said as students, they can’t expect to be able to afford better housing or better housing locations.
Trussel said the highway passes through a residential area, and he said he believes the majority of people don’t know or don’t take it into consideration to slow down and watch for pedestrians or animals.
She suggested a possible solution could be to put up more signage across the highway to warn oncoming traffic of the frequent crossings of pedestrians and to slow down.
Tanner Behrens, a sophomore in business finance from California, who has lived across the street from Hukilau Beach for the past nine months, said, “[One day] I was sitting inside watching a movie when I heard a loud crash. I looked outside and saw two cars skidding across the highway. I ran outside to help.
“I began directing traffic when a lot of locals from around came out and brought out cones, flashlights, and everything to help us direct traffic. Once the cops came, they took over.
“I think the problem is we have such a large, busy main highway on a small, narrow, unlit road,” said Behrens.
He said a more industrialized Kamehameha Highway would solve the problem. He said bigger lanes and more lights are needed, but added “I don’t believe it will happen because nobody wants that. Everyone wants to keep the country, country, and personally I think that is a key component of Hawaii. I respect that.”
According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, Oahu had 5 million visitors in 2016. It said with a large number of tourists traveling to the North Shore, hot spots like Laniakea Beach have become saturated with cars and buses.
For more information on driving laws in Hawaii, visit hidot.hawaii.gov.
NOTE: This story's online publication was delayed because it was featured in the Oct. 2017 print issue.