Despite Risky Walking Crackdown Oahu Pedestrian Deaths Doubles

November 8, 2018

The number of pedestrians killed on Oahu has doubled this year despite enforcement of laws aimed curbing risky walking behaviors.

So far this year, 26 pedestrians have been killed on the island, increasing from the 13 pedestrian deaths recorded in 2017, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Sunday.

On average for the past five years, 342 pedestrians were treated at Oahu hospitals, according to the state Department of Health.

Honolulu enacted an ordinance last year prohibiting pedestrians from looking at cellphones while crossing the street. Police have cited 147 people since enforcement began in October 2017.

Police have issued 9,671 citations this year for pedestrian-related violations, which include disobeying signals and walking on roads.

Police issued 9,616 citations to drivers caught using mobile devices last year, and 4,537 jaywalking citations were issued that year, according to the police department. The department has issued 4,457 citations for jaywalking so far this year.

Pedestrian fatalities are the sixth-leading cause of injury-related deaths in the state, according to the Hawaii Department of Health. It’s the second-leading cause for children age 14 and younger, falling behind drownings.

Public health and safety officials said there is not a clear reason for the spike in deaths despite the increased focus on distracted pedestrians.

“It’s a lot of things,” Police Capt. Ben Moszkowicz said. “It’s hard to nail it down to one particular thing.”

Four of the 26 pedestrian deaths involved people walking on the freeway at night, and four cases involved people kneeling or laying in a roadway. Two people were killed by a suspected drunken driver while changing a tire, four were in the driver’s blind spot when they were hit, and six people were on a crosswalk.

“It goes back to what I tell my kids: You have to look left, right and left again and keep on looking all the way across,” Moszkowicz said. “Motorists also have to be on the lookout. You have to make eye contact and take a couple extra seconds.”

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