Pedestrian accidents are a disturbing public safety problem in Hawaii. In a recent year, the state reported 37 pedestrian deaths and had the sixth-worst pedestrian fatality rate in the country. Just a year prior, Hawaii recorded 44 pedestrian deaths.
In response to this crisis, the Hawaii Department of Transportation recently announced a series of construction projects designed to protect pedestrians and get drivers to slow down. These include reinstalling raised crosswalks at intersections along Pali Highway in Nuuanu, with more improvements pending.
What are Raised Crosswalks?
According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), a raised crosswalk — or a speed table — is a pedestrian crossing that is level with the sidewalk at both ends of the crosswalk. The construction features a gentle slope leading up to and away from the crosswalk, creating a shape resembling a table.
Raised crosswalks are typically at least 10 feet wide so that a passenger vehicle’s front and rear wheels can be on the crosswalk’s “table” simultaneously. A reduced speed limit near raised crosswalks forces motorists to slow down. According to the FHWA, raised crosswalks can lower pedestrian deaths by 45 percent.
Where are the New Crosswalks in Honolulu?
The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) announced that raised crosswalks will be reinstalled at intersections along the Pali Highway in Nuuanu where the highway intersects with Upper Dowsett Avenue and Lower Dowsett Avenue. Officials say raised crosswalks at three other locations along Pali Highway have significantly reduced instances of speeding.
Reducing Pedestrian Accidents
HDOT officials say that in cases where a car hits a pedestrian at 40 miles per hour, the victim nearly always dies. Approximately half of all pedestrians survive an impact at 30 miles per hour, while virtually all pedestrians survive crashes at 20 miles per hour or lower. If drivers consistently slow down at raised crosswalks, many pedestrians could avoid severe injury or death.
How Do Raised Crosswalks Impact Drivers?
Roughly 65,000 vehicles travel along the Pali every day. Commute times may increase as drivers slow down to accommodate the raised crosswalks. Traffic patterns may also shift if drivers change routes to avoid the crosswalks. Still, the perks of the crosswalks outweigh the downsides if they save a pedestrian’s life.
Getting Legal Help After a Pedestrian Accident in Hawaii
Pedestrian injuries can be costly and catastrophic. If you or a loved one suffered injuries while walking in Oahu, a personal injury lawyer from Recovery Law Center can help you pursue compensation for your injuries. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain by scheduling a free consultation. Call us today.