HONOLULU (KHON2) — Officials are asking motorists to drive with caution this Independence Day as both DUIs and speeding have increased across the state. But, there is one area where Hawaii is improving: pedestrian fatalities.

The state ramped up efforts to reduce pedestrian deaths in 2019 by building more raised crosswalks. The year brought 37 pedestrian deaths.

In 2020, a drastic drop in deaths was reported, with 21 lives lost and 2021 is already showing a better pace as 10 people have died from pedestrian accidents as of June 23.

While that reduction could be a result of the coronavirus pandemic and less cars on the road, the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) says raised crosswalks are certainly helping.

“The biggest thing we see when we put the raised pedestrian crosswalks in place is we see higher compliance by drivers, we see pedestrians taking their safety into their own hands and we also see that every time that driver comes to that area there’s a slow down. There’s a speed reduction throughout the corridor which is a really really good thing,” said Deputy Director of Highways for HDOT Ed Sniffen.

Sniffen adds that Hawaii currently has 23 raised crosswalks and is looking to add more in places like Fort Weaver Road on Oahu and Kuhio Highway on Kauai.

The Federal Highway Administration says these types of crosswalks can decrease pedestrian crashes by 45%.

Walk Wise Hawaii has these tips for practicing being a safe pedestrian:

  • Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.
  • Dress to be seen. During the day, wear brightly colored clothing, and at night wear special reflective material on your shoes, hat or clothing.
  • Watch for vehicles turning into or backing out of parking spaces or driveways.
  • Always cross streets directly and never diagonally.
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals.

Tips for Crossing the Street:

  • Cross only at corners or marked crosswalks.
  • Stop at the curb, or the edge of the road.
  • Look all ways — left, right and left again, and over your shoulder before you step into the street.
  • If you see a car, wait until it goes by. Then look all ways again until no cars are coming.
  • When crossing in front of stopped cars, make eye contact to be sure drivers see you before crossing in front of them.
  • Walk. Don’t run.