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News Release

January 11, 2011

HPD AND FARMERS INSURANCE HAWAII URGE DOWNTOWN: SLOW DOWN AND SAVE LIVES

Traffic Safety Awareness Event Prompted by Record Fatalities in 2010

The Honolulu Police Department was joined by Farmers Insurance Hawaii employees and the downtown community at a 2011 Traffic Safety Awareness kickoff event at the corner of King and Bishop Streets today, to remind drivers to obey speed limits and to watch for pedestrians crossing streets.

More than 150 community members participated in the traffic safety event to highlight the need to slow down, especially in light of the increase in traffic fatalities in 2010, with 61 deaths last year compared to 49 in 2009 and 42 in 2008 on Oahu streets.

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and Michele Saito, President of Farmers Insurance Hawaii, led a team of HPD officers from Community Policing District 1, Farmers Insurance Hawaii staff members, and employees of downtown businesses at the sign waving event to urge drivers to follow speed limits, avoid driving distractions such as talking on cell phones, and to watch out for pedestrians.

Farmers Hawaii President, Michele Saito, said that the traffic safety event is part of the company’s Hot Spots program, which was started in 2002 in response to serious traffic accidents to remind drivers to slow down in front of school zones.

"Over the years we have expanded our focus to address the growing problem of pedestrian accidents," Saito said. "We want to remind drivers to pay attention at all times, especially to keiki and kupuna crossing our streets."

HPD officers handed out Pedestrian Safety pamphlets at this morning's event and encouraged downtown workers to pay special attention to pedestrian crossing signals at intersections in the downtown area.

The Farmers Insurance Hot Spots program was started more than eight years ago in response to increased accidents and fatalities due to speeding. Schools or concerned community members interested in holding a Hot Spots event in their neighborhood should contact the Farmers Insurance Community Relations Department at 808-544-3988.

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