DOT Launches Third Annual Pedestrian Safety MonthPosted on Aug 6, 2012 in News
HONOLULU– Hawaii is making major strides in pedestrian safety. During a proclamation ceremony today at the State Capitol, Governor Neil Abercrombie declared August as “Pedestrian Safety Month in Hawaii,” the only statewide pedestrian safety month in the nation. Pedestrian-related community events and campaigns will be taking place throughout the month to encourage safe pedestrian behaviors, as well as to heighten drivers’ awareness of pedestrians, with the ultimate goal of saving lives and making Hawaii a safer place to walk.
The state Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Walk Wise Hawaii pedestrian safety program is teaming with public partners such as the City & County of Honolulu’s Department of Transportation Services, the Honolulu Police Department (HPD), the University of Hawaii, the Federal Highway Administration and private partners such as AAA-Hawaii, Farmers Insurance, Kamaaina Kids, Longs Drugs, and McDonald’s Hawaii. Together, they will continue to promote and educate residents on pedestrian safety during the month, as they do throughout the year.
“Our Walk Wise Hawaii campaign has been an instrumental tool, along with enforcement and safety engineering, in reducing pedestrian fatalities and accidents in our state,” Governor Abercrombie said. “Led by the state Department of Transportation, Walk Wise Hawaii represents collaboration among federal, state, county, nonprofit, and business entities that have each made safety on our islands’ sidewalks and roadways a priority. This is Hawaii’s opportunity to lead the nation in pedestrian safety education and to help change pedestrian and driver habits.”
Leading up to Pedestrian Safety Month, Walk Wise Hawaii partnered with Kamaaina Kids, an after-school program serving over 9,700 children and families statewide, and McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii in an education campaign to teach Hawaii’s keiki and kupuna good pedestrian habits.
“After learning seven pedestrian safety tips during the school year, each Kamaaina Kid was asked to share this information with their family members in the form of the Kupuna Pledge Card,” said Glenn Okimoto, Director of the Hawaii Department of Transportation. “Each kupuna or parent was asked to sign the card and pledge to their son or daughter to be a good pedestrian and, once signed, every pledge card was redeemable for a complimentary McDonald’s of Hawaii Happy Meal.”
In addition, each Kamaaina Kid was asked to create a pedestrian safety poster based on one of two key pedestrian safety tips: (1) Always make eye contact with drivers while in a crosswalk; and (2) Always wear bright or reflective clothing while walking at night.
More than 1,200 posters statewide were submitted and the top 20 posters will be put on display at the State Capitol throughout August. The top two posters, one from each category, will be printed on McDonald’s of Hawaii tray liners at 75 locations throughout the state during the month of August. It is expected that over half a million McDonald’s of Hawaii customers will be exposed to this messaging.
“Since the inception of Walk Wise Hawaii in 2003, pedestrian fatalities of seniors 65 and over have declined steadily” Okimoto added. “However, there has been an alarming increase with individuals 17 to 22 years old due to distracted walking. This year, we must continue to be vigilant in our education efforts.”
The following Pedestrian Safety Month campaigns and events are slated for August:
- Farmers Insurance “Hot Spots” traffic safety program will host several sign waving and educational events at designated streets and areas on Oahu that have been designated by the Statewide Pedestrian Safety Master Plan as challenge areas.
- Longs Drugs will provide Walk Wise Hawaii brochures with pedestrian safety tips targeted for senior citizens at the pharmacy counters in the company’s 50 locations statewide.
- University of Hawaii students and faculty at all 10 campuses statewide will be educated through a series of special events and presentations on good pedestrian safety and driver awareness tips for students walking to class and driving to school.
For more information on Walk Wise Hawaii and a list of Pedestrian Safety Month events, please call 535-9099 or visit www.facebook.com/pages/Walk-Wise-Hawaii.
About Walk Wise Hawaii
Walk Wise Hawaii is a public education program focusing on pedestrian safety and driver awareness, sponsored by the Hawaii State Department of Transportation through its “Safe Communities” program with funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Walk Wise Hawaii has employed extensive outreach methods including partnerships with public and private entities. Since its inception in 2003, pedestrian fatalities statewide have declined by 32 percent.