Grim statistics back up the state Department of Transportation’s plea for
safety-conscious pedestrians and drivers.
Hawai’i averages more than 20
pedestrians killed in traffic accidents each year. Most of the fatalities were
people 60 or older, according to DOT information accompanying a statewide
campaign for driver and pedestrian awareness.
Equally startling are results
of a DOT survey. Among other things, almost half of the people polled said they
sometimes cross streets without using crosswalks. And nearly 60 percent of
drivers said they stop for pedestrians whether the hoofers are in or out of a
crosswalk. But what about the other 40 percent? Is it any wonder that
pedestrians don’t always reach their destinations safely?
schoolchildren are a key population segment that DOT’s pedestrian-safety
campaign is trying to reach. But general safety guidelines apply equally to
pedestrians of all ages.
They and drivers may have forgotten what they
learned at a young age. Shall we?
* Pedestrians should cross only at
crosswalks (jaywalking is a potential ticket to the hospital, or worse), obey
all traffic laws and signals, face oncoming traffic when walking, never enter
the street or crosswalk unless vehicles have come to a complete stop, make eye
contact with drivers, look both ways for vehicles (including ones that might be
turning), and wear bright clothing when walking at night.
* Drivers should
slow down and prepare to stop for pedestrians waiting at a crosswalk, keep an
eye out for other vehicles stopped at a crosswalk, watch for children near
schools, parks, playgrounds and residential neighborhoods, and make eye contact
with pedestrians and signal them to cross by waving.
Simple rules, all of
them. And like the old saying, the simpler the better, especially for keeping
people safe on the roads.