Walk Wise Hawaii campaign vigilant after 27 pedestrian fatalities last year

Hawaii Independent Staff

HONOLULU—Pedestrian-related community events and campaigns will be taking place throughout August to encourage safe pedestrian behaviors, as well as heighten awareness in drivers toward pedestrians. Hawaii’s “Pedestrian Safety Month” is the only statewide pedestrian safety month in the nation.

The State Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Walk Wise Hawaii program is teaming up with the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Transportation Services, Honolulu Police Department (HPD), the University of Hawaii, AAA-Hawaii, Farmers Insurance, Kama‘āina Kids, Longs Drugs, and McDonald’s Hawaii. Together, they will continue to promote and educate residents on pedestrian safety and driver awareness of pedestrians during the month.

“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,” said Jade Butay, DOT Deputy Director, Administration Division. “Since the inception of Walk Wise Hawaii in 2003, pedestrian fatalities have declined each year until last year when pedestrian fatalities rose to an alarming 27 deaths. This year, we must continue to be vigilant more than ever.”

The following Pedestrian Safety Month campaigns and events are slated for August:

* Kama‘āina Kids, an after-school program serving over 6,000 children statewide, will send home Kupuna Pledge cards with students for their kupuna or parents to sign, asking them to pledge to their children or grandchildren to walk safely. Each signed pledge card is redeemable for a free McDonald’s Happy Meal.

* McDonald’s Hawaii and Kama‘āina Kids will also announce the winners of their statewide pedestrian safety poster campaign. The top 20 posters will be on display at the State Capitol and the top two posters will be printed on McDonald’s tray liners at 75 locations throughout the state.

* Ronald McDonald will educate Kauai and Maui grade school students on good pedestrian habits and ask them to take the Walk Wise Hawaii pledge as part of McDonald’s community outreach safety program.

* Farmers Insurance will host “Hot Spots” sign waving events at designated street corners throughout the state to remind drivers to be more aware of pedestrians crossing the street.

* In addition, Farmers Insurance will launch a Drivers Pledge Challenge with Walk Wise Hawaii to get 10,000 Hawaii drivers to take the Walk Wise Hawaii Driver’s Pledge by the end of the year, in which they promise to always look out for pedestrians while driving.

* Walk Wise Hawaii will be participating with HPD in the National Night Out walk to promote safety in our communities, beginning at the Target store in Salt Lake.

* AAA-Hawaii will partner with Consolidated Theatres by providing pedestrian safety displays inside select theatres where movie goers will receive Walk Wise Hawaii information.

* Longs Drugs will provide Walk Wise Hawaii brochures at pharmacy counters in the company’s 45 locations statewide.

* Walk Wise Hawaii pedestrian safety advocates will speak at elementary, middle and high schools; seniors clubs; and other organizations throughout the month.

* The University of Hawaii will launch a campus-wide pedestrian safety campaign reaching out to more than 20,000 students through campus events and new media educating students on pedestrian safety and driver awareness of pedestrians.

* The HPD will partner with Walk Wise Hawaii for a pedestrian safety law enforcement event in the urban core of Honolulu.

* A public service announcement will run at Consolidated Theatres Victoria Ward 16 and Pearlridge West 16 beginning July 29. The 30-second spot, entitled “You’ll Never Know Who You’ll Run Into,” shows the consequences of inattentive behavior behind the wheel. The PSA will have an eight-week run showing 1,120 times a week. At select screenings, Walk Wise Hawaii volunteers will distribute pedestrian safety and driver awareness brochures.

* Pedestrian safety tips signage targeted towards bus riders will be on all city buses on Oahu throughout the month, reminding riders that “Drivers can always see TheBus but they don’t always see YOU!”

For more information, call (808) 587-2160 or visit the “Walk Wise Hawaii” Facebook page.