"Project Save our Streets" kicks off in Honolulu

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds rallied Friday morning in downtown Honolulu for the second annual Project Save Our Streets.

The Honolulu Police Department introduced "Project Save Our Streets" last year to address a record number of pedestrian and traffic collisions in 2010.

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha along with other HPD officers joined employees from Farmers Insurance Hawaii on the corner of King and Bishop Streets for the SOS kickoff.

Hundreds waved signs encouraging drivers to slow down and be on the lookout for pedestrians.

Michele Saito, president of Farmers Insurance Hawaii Operations, noted that educational efforts such as "Project Save Our Streets" and Farmers Hawaii's own Hot Spots traffic safety program have helped to reduce traffic deaths in 2011 after increases in 2010 over previous years.

Traffic fatalities on Oahu dropped 18 percent in 2011 compared with 2010, according to statistics compiled by HPD at year-end. Of the total of 52 traffic fatalities in 2011, 33 were motor vehicle, motorcycle, or moped related, while 17 were pedestrian accidents.

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.

This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the Farmers Hawaii Hot Spots traffic safety program. Saito said that the company's Hot Spots program started in response to serious traffic accidents in front of school zones to help raise awareness for drivers to slow down and watch for pedestrians.

The Hot Spots program encourages safe driving practices and community awareness of traffic safety issues. "While we are encouraged that safety awareness events like "Project Save Our Streets" and Hot Spots are making a difference, we want to reduce traffic accidents even further by continuing to remind drivers to obey traffic laws and pay attention at all times, especially to keiki and kupuna crossing our streets," said Saito.

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