In a state which cherishes and reveres our kupuna, Hawaii drivers sure don’t act like it. A recent study from Smart Growth America found Hawaii is the most dangerous state in the nation for pedestrians over the age of 65. Between 2003 and 2012, 262 people were killed while walking in the Aloha state. Roughly 40% were older than 65.
What is behind this alarming statistic? Some may say it’s the pedestrians’ fault. Older pedestrians tend to be more frail, move slower, have poorer reaction time, and often assume drivers will stop for them. But these characteristics would be true anywhere in the country. Is there anything particularly unusual about the design and layout of our roads? Not really.
So what it comes down to is the Hawaii driver. The one who is agitated by traffic congestion. The one who is in a rush to get to work. The one who is texting while driving. The one who sees pedestrians as a nuisance.
Let’s all commit to being extra careful when driving around pedestrians, particularly those who are vulnerable. These deaths can invariably be traced back to a selfish and petty decision the driver made. Who knows, it could be your tutu crossing the road when you decide it is more important to text a friend about meeting you at the beach rather than paying attention to the roadway.