New DVD Teaches Kids About Pedestrian Safety

Ismael Salameh
Ismael Salameh

KALIHI (KHNL) -- The state rolled out its Walk Wise pedestrian education campaign for senior citizens three years ago. Now, after several pedestrian crashes involving children, it's expanding the program to include students in Kindergarten through 5th grade.

Ten-year-old Ismael Salameh says he had a close call with a car a few years ago.

"When I was playing with my friends tag, I was going across the parking lot," he said. "But then a car came and I almost got hit."

"How did that feel?" this reporter asked.

"I was frightened," he replied.

But now, he and other kids are learning how to be safer.

The Department of Transportation is distributing a 14-minute DVD to Oahu schools. It features Asimo the Robot, who teaches students good pedestrians habits.

"I learned always to stop at a curb," Salameh said. "And when there's parked cars in the way, you should check if there's people in there so that you won't get hit."

From 2000 to 2004, there were 11 pedestrian crashes involving children between the ages of four and 12 in the Kalihi area alone.

Roz Pancho is a crossing guard at Kalihi-Kai Elementary.

"There are cars all the time that, you know, doesn't want to stop. They refuse to stop and they just don't have no patience," she said. "And I think it's very important that they pay attention."

The state says 76 of Oahu's 118 elementary schools have requested the pedestrian safety DVD so far.

Pancho hopes the program will help make her job a bit easier.

"I take it pretty seriously, especially when it comes to the children," she said. "I really watch out for them."

Transportation officials say nearly 27,000 students could participate in this new program.