Did you know the number one reason for pedestrian accidents and fatalities is inattentive behavior on the part of the driver and the pedestrian? Simply put, we are just not paying attention to each other on Hawaii’s roadways.
According to Walk Wise Hawaii, the Hawaii Department of Transportation’s (HDOT) pedestrian safety outreach program, drivers and pedestrians are more distracted today than they were ten years ago. Drivers are taking their hands off the wheel, their eyes off the road and their minds off driving while they illegally text or legally listening to music, eat their lunch and a number of other activities that take their attention away from their primary task of driving. Pedestrians are equally distracted and have a false sense of security when entering a crosswalk. Many assume they always have the right-of-way and act as if a crosswalk provides an invisible force field that will repel any vehicle that gets in their way.
August is Pedestrian Safety Month and Hawaii is the only state in the nation with a month dedicated to pedestrian safety. Walk Wise Hawaii, which created the month, conducts educational outreach throughout the year, but every August the program creates heightened awareness of pedestrian safety, with the ultimate goal of saving lives and making Hawaii a safer place to walk. Pedestrian-related community events and campaigns will be held throughout the month to encourage safe pedestrian behaviors and raise driver awareness of pedestrians. One such partner this month is McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii, which is joining forces with Walk Wise Hawaii to educate its customers on the importance of being visible while walking in the early morning and evening hours, when most pedestrian-related crashes occur. The restaurant will feature a “Be Seen at Night” message on tray liners at 74 McDonald’s of Hawaii locations throughout the state during the month of August. Tray liners will include safety tips on how pedestrians can be more visible to drivers. It is expected that more than half a million customers will be exposed to this message.
The company will be hosting a series of “Be Seen at Night” events throughout the state, where they will distribute Walk Wise Hawaii’s “Seven Steps to Safety” brochures and wearable safety lights for pedestrians. In addition, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii will distribute 9,000 brochures entitled “Seven Pedestrian Tips for Kupuna” at senior fairs and senior group presentations statewide through the Walk Wise Hawaii outreach program. As an incentive to be a good pedestrian, each senior who takes the Walk Wise Hawaii pledge to follow all seven tips will receive a coupon for a free small coffee or hot tea at any McDonald’s Restaurant of Hawaii in the state.
HDOT’s Pedestrian Safety Month campaign is a collaboration of partners from the government, private and non-profit sectors. Partners include the City & County of Honolulu’s Department of Transportation Services, the four county police departments, the Honolulu Police Department’s Community Policing Teams and Neighborhood Security Watch Teams, Safe Routes to School, McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii, and the Federal Highway Administration.
For more information on Walk Wise Hawaii and to request a presentation for your group or organization, please call 535-9099 or visit www.facebook.com/pages/Walk-Wise-Hawaii.
Below is a calendar of statewide public events for Pedestrian Safety Month.