As August begins the state of Hawaii will celebrate the sixth annual Pedestrian Safety Month. Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. to celebrate a Pedestrian Safety Month. But, while the state’s observance of pedestrian safety issues is positive, it does bring to light the significant dangers visiting and resident pedestrians face along Hawaii’s roadways. There is still much work to be done to make Hawaii as safe as it should be for pedestrians.
Hawaii Pedestrian Accident Statistics
Statistics taken from Smart Growth America’s “Dangerous by Design – 2014” report demonstrate why there is such a significant need for pedestrian safety awareness in the Aloha State. Hawaiians face a lot of hazards as they walk along streets and roadways – particularly older visitors and residents. Some Hawaii pedestrian accident statistics include:
- Between 2003 and 2012, there were 262 pedestrian fatalities.
- Hawaii’s Pedestrian Danger Index is 34.97, placing it 28th among the 50 states.
- 20% of pedestrian deaths occurred on roads with speed limits 40 mph or higher.
- 37% of pedestrian deaths occurred on roads with speed limits under 30 mph.
- 5% of pedestrian deaths occurred on roads with speed limits under 20 mph.
- For pedestrians aged 65 and older, Hawaii ranks number one for pedestrian deaths nationally.
What You Can Do To Help Prevent Pedestrian Accidents
One purpose of Pedestrian Safety Month is to help everyone – both drivers and pedestrians – to understand what they can do to help prevent these tragic accidents. Whether you are behind the wheel or on foot, there are a number of things you can do to improve your safety and the safety of those around you.
Although both pedestrians and drivers can be at fault for a pedestrian accident, in the end it is always the pedestrian that bears the brunt of the damage. Getting hit by a car or truck can lead to lifelong injuries and even death. For this reason alone, drivers must remain hyper-vigilant to avoid hitting pedestrians. Even if someone walks purposefully in the road, you still do not want to hit them – for both your sakes. You may not even hurt the pedestrian seriously, but you are still at risk of a costly lawsuit.
To protect yourself and pedestrians, always drive at the posted speed limit. Anytime you are in an area frequented by pedestrians, drive defensively. You never know when you will need to stop. Avoid driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or when excessively tired. Also, avoid driving while distracted – no texting, no internet and only take phone calls if you can do so hands-free.
Just as drivers must realize that they are almost guaranteed to hurt a pedestrian in an accident, you as a pedestrian need to understand that you will always lose in an accident. Because of your risk, it is imperative that you walk with your safety in mind.
When you are walking, obey all traffic laws. Cross at crosswalks. Only cross when the signal tells you to do so. Avoid walking while intoxicated or when there is any risk of you stumbling into the road. Always look both ways before crossing the street. Looking both ways several times is even more effective. Do not ever try to beat a car in an attempt to cross the street. If you are on a poorly lit road, wear highly visible clothing.
If you are hit by a car or truck, seek medical attention immediately. After you have seen a medical professional, contact a pedestrian accident attorney to protect your legal rights.
If You Have Been In An Accident, Call Our Hawaii Personal Injury Firm As Soon As Possible
There is hope that community efforts like Pedestrian Safety Month will help to lower the risks faced by pedestrians on Hawaii’s roads. But even with full awareness, pedestrian accidents will still happen. If you or a loved one are involved in such an accident, please contact our Hawaii personal injury firm as soon as you can. We can help you understand your legal options, and get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.