Isle pedestrian fatality
rate ranks fifth in the nation

Hawaii ranks fifth nationally in pedestrian fatality rates per 100,000 population in 2001, according to a report done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

New Mexico ranked first in the country while Arizona and Florida ranked second and third, respectively.

Among U.S. cities, Honolulu ranked 100th out of 245 cities in pedestrian fatalities based on 100,000 population in 2001.

The study focuses on pedestrian fatalities between 1998 and 2001.

Alvin Takeshita, head of Traffic Safety and Traffic Engineering branches of the state Department of Transportation, said a high number of pedestrian accidents occur in the Kalihi police district, where a large number of senior citizens live.

Takeshita said children and senior citizens tend to be victims in fatal pedestrian accidents.

"They are the most vulnerable," he said.

While the national report noted that nearly half of pedestrian fatalities occurred between 6 p.m. and midnight, Takeshita said most pedestrian fatalities in Hawaii occur during daylight hours.

The study also reported that most pedestrian fatalities occurred on the highways and involved one vehicle, and almost half of all pedestrian fatalities occurred on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Takeshita said alcohol, speed and inattention on the roadways are contributing factors to pedestrian fatalities in Hawaii.

"There is no engineering solution to someone who decides to break the traffic laws," he added. "We need to take a look and make an educated and informed decision to address the concerns."

Takeshita added that 80 percent of traffic-related accidents involving pedestrians occur on Oahu due to its densely populated areas compared with the neighbor islands.

Maj. Bryan Wauke, of the Honolulu Police Department's Traffic Division, said they have held talks in various communities on pedestrian safety. Police are currently developing a videotape on pedestrian safety to be completed in May.

"Education and public awareness is effective in lowering the numbers," Wauke said.

Pedestrian fatality rates

The 10 states with the highest pedestrian fatality rate (per 100,000 population) in 2001:

1. New Mexico, 3.94
2. Arizona, 3.00
3. Florida, 2.98
4. South Carolina, 2.66
5. Hawaii, 2.45
6. Louisiana, 2.19
7. Nevada, 2.14
8. Delaware, 2.14
9. Texas, 2.11
10. Mississippi, 2.06

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

State Department of Transportation


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