By Wendy Osher
Students from High Schools on Maui spent the afternoon sign waving along Kaahumanu Avenue in an attempt to raise awareness about the dangers of “distractive” driving.
Students from the Peer Education Program and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) at Maui and Baldwin High Schools joined forces with first responders in getting the message across as the holidays near.
“We’re campaigning for safe driving–that means: paying attention to the road, not drinking and driving, abstaining from alcohol use during driving, to not text, and just to be safe on the road,” said Baldwin H.S. PEP and SADD member, Josh Eldred, who joined peers and professionals in a sign waving campaign fronting the school.
The Arrive Alive Campaign was organized in part by the Maui Police Department, which put a crash display in front of the main Wailuku station showing vehicles involved in accidents.
“We’re trying to remind people about the dangers of drinking and driving, texting and driving–any kind of distractive driving behaviors,” said Officer J. Kaneshiro with the MPD DUI task force.
“Especially going into this holiday season when people might want to party, we try to remind them to designate a driver. This whole campaign is titled Arrive Alive–that’s the focus we’re looking at,” said Kaneshiro.
For Baldwin Junior, Jazmine Harmon, the realities of distractive diving came when a friend suffered fatal injuries in a head-on collision while texting and driving.
“This is really important to me because I lost someone really close,” said Harmon. “The holiday season is really, really crowded. Having the weather–it’s been raining–you should be really careful,” she said.
For those that are rushing to get Christmas presents or pick up children, Harmon said, “you still gotta drive safe, cause there’s other people on the road.”
“We see it all the time when we’re at accident scenes. Word of mouth spreads faster than anything else, and any bad accidents, people start arriving at the scene pretty quickly,” said Kaneshiro.
“Hawaii as a whole, and Maui specifically, is very interconnected–where we all know each other; the families are big; we’re very family oriented in Hawaii; and then you have your hanai family and everyone else,” he said. “Anytime someone is seriously injured, or dies as a result of one of these collisions, it does affect a large portion of the community,” said Kaneshiro.