May 3, 2012
DANGEROUS TRAFFIC ZONE LEADS TO STUDENT-LED AWARENESS RALLY
Three Area Schools Join Forces for Traffic Safety Community Event
Early morning drivers on their way to work speed down the steep downhill slopes of Prospect and Auwaiolimu Streets in front of Stevenson Middle School. Weary of the traffic dangers, Stevenson students researched traffic conditions and safety concerns -- and took action on their findings.
More than 200 students and community citizens from Stevenson Middle School, as well as neighboring Roosevelt High School and Lincoln Elementary School, joined forces today to create a community sign-waving rally to urge drivers to slow down in the area, which has a speed limit of 25 mph, and watch for pedestrians during the morning rush hour.
The sign waving event was the culmination of a special project headed by Stevenson Middle College Career Education instructor Susan Ching to develop a traffic safety research and community action project with school students. As part of their final, students and teachers were joined by Honolulu Police Department District 1 Community Policing officers as well as Farmers Insurance Hawaii employees, and community members to sign wave to raise awareness about the traffic problems and ask drivers to drive with caution.
Today's event is part of the year-long celebration of the 10th anniversary of Farmers Hawaii Hot Spots program to raise awareness for traffic and pedestrian safety statewide.
According to Michele Saito, President of Farmers Insurance Hawaii Operations, the three-school area above Makiki is a heavy traffic zone in the mornings, with a combination of driving hazards: speeding cars; illegal turns after dropping students off at school; cars passing other vehicles stopped for students in crosswalks; and sight lines blocked by cars parked on sidewalks.
"This dangerous mix of hazards, combined with driving distractions such as cell phone use and hurrying to get to work, requires that parents and drivers pay attention and also be aware of speed limits and laws in school zones," Saito said.
She added that the fine for speeding in school zones is $297, and not yielding to pedestrians and jaywalking fines are $130 each. The speed limit in school zones is 25 miles per hour.
According to HPD, there have been 20 traffic fatalities so far this year, 5 of which were pedestrians. At this time last year, there were 17 traffic fatalities. That's why Farmers Hawaii partners with HPD on these educational awareness events to continually remind drivers to drive with caution and obey traffic laws in order to help reduce traffic fatalities.
The Farmers Insurance Hot Spots program was started in 2002 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 Farmers Insurance Hawaii at 808-544-3988.