Kids Hope They Can Get Drivers to be More Careful

Therese Freedman
Therese Freedman

KALIHI (KHNL) - Mothers, daughters, uncles, brothers. An average of two people per week. That's how many have died on Oahu's roadways this year.

Last week alone, traffic investigators responded to three more fatal collisions. That happened despite HPD's recent efforts to increase public awareness about traffic safety. Now, kids are hoping drivers will listen to them.

Students at Puuhale Elementary say enough is enough. Using signs and shakas, they're urging grownups to drive more carefully.

Fifth grader Therese Freeman loves it when drivers respond by honking their horns.

"It makes me feel great 'cause they are actually listening to the signs and stuff," she said.

The first 10 weeks of 2007 were deadly on Oahu's roadways. Traffic crashes killed 20 people, half of them pedestrians.

"I feel sad for them 'cause they lost their lives because of the people who hurt them," Freeman said.

Instead of sheltering the children, the faculty is talking openly about the tragedies.

"Teachers have made it part of their lessons to inform them it can happen to anyone," Calvin Nomiyama, principal, said. "At any given time, we could become a victim."

About 250 students participated in the traffic safety project. The school's principal says the student council came up with the idea.

"They wanted to do something concrete to let our community know that we care," Nomiyama said.

Freeman, the student council vice president, offers these words to live by.

"Don't speed and, like, care for other people so we can have more people in our community," she said.

The 20 people died in 18 crashes this year. Compare that to 16 fatalities in 15 collisions at this time last year.