Maui Business

HDOT Launches 8th Annual Pedestrian Safety Month

July 24, 2017, 12:35 PM HST
* Updated July 24, 12:39 PM
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The 8th annual Pedestrian Safety Month kicked off today at the State Capitol with an official proclamation ceremony held by Governor David Y. Ige, the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation, and federal, state and community partners.

In 2016, there were nearly 6,000 pedestrian deaths in the U.S., which is the highest in more than two decades. State data shows that there were 32 pedestrian fatalities in Hawaii in 2016, and one pedestrian fatality in 2017.

Each August, Pedestrian Safety Month works to increase awareness of pedestrian safety to make Hawai‘i a safer place to walk. The month features daily public and private pedestrian safety events.

Officials say that in 2016, there were nearly 6,000 pedestrian deaths in the US, which is the highest in more than two decades. State data shows that there were 32 pedestrian fatalities in Hawai‘i in 2016, and one pedestrian fatality in 2017.

“The primary cause of pedestrian accidents is inattentive behavior on both the part of the pedestrian and the driver,” HDOT Director Ford Fuchigami said. “Our Walk Wise Hawai‘i program is an important tool, along with enforcement and safety engineering, in increasing awareness to reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries in our state.”

Fuchigami added that on average, a pedestrian is killed every two hours and injured every seven minutes in traffic crashes nationwide. “We believe that this alarming trend can be reduced through increased awareness of the problem and education, which is why we created Pedestrian Safety Month. Protecting our most vulnerable roadway users is one of our top priorities,” he said.

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During today’s ceremony, HDOT announced a new community partnership with the Girl Scouts of Hawai‘i. Walk Wise Hawai‘i conducts safety presentations to nearly 5,000 Girl Scouts throughout the state. Girl Scout troops will then create a pedestrian safety project to share key Walk Wise Hawai‘i safety tips with the public, earning each participating Girl Scout an inaugural Walk Wise Hawai‘i Pedestrian Safety Patch.

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“Pedestrian Safety is an important message to everyone, and Girl Scouts in Hawai‘i look forward to carrying that message throughout our community,” said Shari Chang, CEO Girl Scouts of Hawai‘i. “Scouts of all ages will be participating in a variety of community awareness projects to support this program.”

A new Drive Wise Hawai‘i brochure was also unveiled today, which outlines ways that drivers can safely handle pedestrian activity on Hawai‘i’s roadways, including:

(1) Always be prepared to stop when approaching a crosswalk. A pedestrian may be hidden from view.

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(2) Be vigilant. Always look for pedestrian movement in your direction.

(3) Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Proceed when the pedestrian has safely passed your vehicle.

(4) Be aware that pedestrians can be hidden from view when you are stopped at multilane roads.

(5) When driving between dusk and down, watch for pedestrians in dark clothing. Always use your headlights.

(6) Always watch for pedestrians when backing out of driveways or parking stalls. Children can be hidden from view.

(7) Make sure that you are fit to drive.

The brochure features a Drive Wise Hawai‘i Pledge for drivers that asks: “As a good driver to always be aware that pedestrians can be hidden from view by stopped vehicles on multi-lane streets.”

Brochures will be distributed at participating McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawai‘i drive-through locations and community events throughout the state during August.

To view the Pedestrian Safety Month calendar of events, click here.

For more information on Walk Wise Hawai‘i and a list of Pedestrian Safety Month events, call (808) 587-2160 or visit here.

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