Pedestrian Deaths Soar in Hawaii
In Hawaii, August is pedestrian safety month, and the awareness is definitely needed right now.
Right now, Hawaii is on track to break a 16-year record for pedestrian deaths in a year. The record number was set in 2018. It should be noted that the Department of Transportation data for this stat only goes back to 2003.
The DOT data indicates that Hawaii had 28 pedestrian fatalities so far over the course of 2019. This comes on the heels of the record establishing 44 that happened just last year. Moreover, Hawaii is set to match the number of pedestrian deaths with those of motor vehicle fatalities. This rarely happens although it did in 2018.
“Unfortunately, as we look across the nation pedestrian fatalities are on the rise and the number one reason is inattentive behavior,” Walk Wise Hawaii Coordinator Lance Rae said.
CNBC recently noted that national pedestrian fatalities have risen by almost 41 percent since 2008. Eerily, that date corresponds with the widespread popularity of smart phones.
Rae speculates that pedestrian inattention combined with driver lack of focus is the reason for the elevated number of deaths.
“Don’t assume that you’re safe in a crosswalk, there is no visible force field that’s going to stop a distracted driver from hitting you. On the reverse side is drivers always pay attention to pedestrians.”
The DOT has made an effort to address the problem by implementing raised crosswalks in various areas that are deemed dangerous for pedestrians.
Officials say that it’s critical to invest in any kind of infrastructure that encourages drivers to slow down.
“We have to remind pedestrians though that just because the crosswalk is raised, doesn’t mean that the car is going to stop,” Rae said.