Hawaii Department of Transportation Launches 8th Annual Pedestrian Safety Month with New Girl Scouts Partnership and Drive Wise Hawaii Brochure

Governor David Y. Ige, the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT), and federal, state and community partners kicked off the state’s 8th annual Pedestrian Safety Month today at the State Capitol with an official proclamation ceremony. Held each August, Pedestrian Safety Month works to increase awareness of pedestrian safety to make Hawaii a safer place to walk. The month is organized by HDOT’s Walk Wise Hawaii program and will feature daily public and private pedestrian safety events.

“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 Hawaii program is an important tool, along with enforcement and safety engineering, in increasing awareness to reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries in our state.”

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.

On average, a pedestrian is killed every two hours and injured every seven minutes in traffic crashes nationwide,” Fuchigami said. “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.”

During today’s event, HDOT announced a new community partnership with the Girl Scouts of Hawaii. Walk Wise Hawaii conduct 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 Hawaii safety tips with the public, earning each participating Girl Scout an inaugural Walk Wise Hawaii Pedestrian Safety Patch.

“Pedestrian Safety is an important message to everyone, and Girl Scouts in Hawaii look forward to carrying that message throughout our community,” said Shari Chang, CEO Girl Scouts of Hawaii. “Scouts of all ages will be participating in a variety of community awareness projects to support this program.”A new Drive Wise Hawaii brochure was also unveiled, which outlines ways that drivers can safely handle pedestrian activity on Hawaii’s roadways, including:

  1. Always be prepared to stop when approaching a crosswalk. A pedestrian may be hidden from view.
  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 Hawaii Pledge for drivers that asks them: “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 Hawaii drive-through locations and community events throughout the state during Pedestrian Safety Month.

Pedestrian Safety Month public partners include the City & County of Honolulu’s Department of Transportation Services; all County police departments; the Hawaii Police Department’s Community Policing Teams and Neighborhood Security Watch Teams; and Safe Routes to School. Private partners include First Hawaiian Bank, DTRIC Insurance and Moms In Hawaii. Pedestrian-related community events and campaigns will be taking place throughout the month to encourage safe pedestrian behaviors and raise driver awareness of pedestrians.

For more information on Walk Wise Hawaii and a list of Pedestrian Safety Month events, call (808) 587-2160 or visit https://www.facebook.com/WalkWiseHawaii/.

About Walk Wise Hawaii
Walk Wise Hawaii is a public education program focusing on pedestrian safety and driver awareness, and is sponsored by the Hawaii Department of Transportation through its “Safe Communities” program with funding from the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA). Walk Wise Hawaii has employed extensive outreach methods including partnerships with public and private entities since its inception in 2003.

About Girl Scouts of Hawaii
Supporting almost 5,000 girl and adult members statewide, the Girl Scouts of Hawaii (GSH) builds girls of courage, confidence and character to make the world a better place. GSH’s headquarters is located on the island of Oahu, with three neighbor island service centers on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai and Maui. GSH is chartered by the national office, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and is responsible for the leadership, administration and supervision of Girl Scout programs in the State of Hawaii. For more information about GSH, visit www.gshawaii.org or call (808) 595-8400.

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