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Keeping Kids Safe on the Way to and From School

As a parent, a major concern you most likely have is the safety and well-being of your child when they’re not in your care. Unfortunately, children are still not as safe as they could be when traveling to and from school.

Many pedestrians in Hawaii have to deal with tourist traffic, an insufficient sidewalk system and a lack of crosswalks in lesser-prioritized transit areas. Parents, teachers and school districts have indicated concerns over the safety of children as they go to and from school around the islands.

One way in which local schools and organizations have chosen to combat this issue is through the implementation of a Safe Routes to School initiative. Since 2008, the Hawaii Department of Transportation has distributed funding through the Safe Routes to School program to organizations including:

  • Maui County
  • Kauai County
  • City and County of Honolulu
  • Keonekai Neighborhood Association
  • Peoples Advocacy for Trails Hawaii
  • Kokua Kalihi Valley

Safe Routes to School projects include infrastructure and programming needs. The initiative strives to encourage kids to walk or bike to school, but also addresses the safety concerns that come along with these modes of transportation.

According to the Hawaii Department of Transportation, the four largest counties in Hawaii received a total of over half a million dollars for Safe Routes to School programming so far in 2018. The highest amount allocated since the project began was over $1 million in 2016.

A fear for parents becomes reality

Pedestrian safety projects don’t address just hypothetical concerns. A 13-year-old girl in Kauai suffered brain injury, a fractured jaw and vision problems after a hit-and-run on her way to school in January. Her case is not isolated and indicates the need for enhanced safety measures for children getting to and from school.

Pedestrian accidents happen frequently, but they don’t have to. No parent – or person for that matter – should have to worry about the ramifications of a car accident. The steps taken by schools, cities and communities in general can better protect all pedestrians from the pain and suffering following an entirely preventable accident.

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