Pedestrian Safety A Priority for Lawmakers

Rep. Kirk Caldwell
Rep. Kirk Caldwell

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Lawmakers on Tuesday discussed a number of bills aimed at making the streets safer for pedestrians. One proposal calls for a study to determine whether traffic signals allow enough time for elderly pedestrians to cross streets.

"We've heard loud and clear," said Rep. Kirk Caldwell, House majority leader. "As you know almost every day there's another report of a person being injured or killed in a crosswalk."

Another makes it clear drivers must stop or yield right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks.

"When a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, they don't enter the crosswalk in terms of the vehicle," Caldwell said. "Not one inch or one foot. They wait until the pedestrian crosses the street before they move through."

Changing the law could lead to changes in behavior on the streets.

"By stiffening the penalities we're hoping people will pay closer attention," Caldwell said. "By clarifying what is required we're hoping it will be easier for people to decide when are they in violation and when are they not in violation."

The legislature did pass a pedestrian safety law last year but the rise in fatal collisions forced it to revisit the issue. Lawmakers hope for better results this time around.

"We've passed these laws last year and look what's happened," Caldwell said. "I think more people have died this year then last year after we passed a very comprehensive pedestrian safety measure."