Friday, May 27, 2011

Hawaii: Worst in Senior Safety, Worst in Driver Ed

Hawaii’s pedestrian death rate among senior citizens is the nation’s highest. Many factors contribute to that sad stat, but this one stands out:

Hawaii drivers rank last among the states in their knowledge of driving rules.

That’s the assertion by GMAC Insurance (formerly General Motors Acceptance Corporation) based on its 20-question multiple-choice test using accepted methodology.

Hawaii drivers scored an average of 73 percent, lowest among the states. Only residents of Washington, D.C. scored lower (71.8). The national average was 77.9 percent.

A score below 70 is failing, says GMAC; 32 percent of Hawaii drivers failed to attain that score. We couldn’t find results for each of the 20 questions, but we’d like to know how Hawaii drivers scored on the very first one on the list:

1. A pedestrian is crossing your lane but there is no crosswalk. You should:
    • Make sure the pedestrian sees you, but continue driving
    • Stop and let the pedestrian cross the street
    • Carefully drive around the pedestrian

Not listed was a possible fourth choice – “If the pedestrian seems to be at least 65 years old, accelerate toward the hapless senior citizen to scare him or her back to the curb.”

Judging from Hawaii’s death rate for pedestrians 65 and above that’s nearly 2.5 times above the national average, we think too many Hawaii drivers would select #4.

However you slice the recent news about pedestrian deaths and driver competency, Hawaii has much work ahead to improve its record in both categories. Take the test yourself and maybe you’ll learn something you didn’t know about the rules of the road.

Postscript: KITV carried a video report on the GMAC test. Near its end the video shows a car preparing to exit a parking lot; without waiting for oncoming traffic to clear, the driver pulls into the street, forcing an approaching driver to hit the brakes. And there you have it -- a ironic slice of driving life in the Aloha State.


ojisan said...

Yes, pedestrian has a right of way!
But they don't look to the left and right before crossing any street. It's the same with the kids. I've seen many pedestrian entering the crosswalk totally oblivious to the on coming traffic and maintaining their zombie walk as though it's a school hallway. Good drivers exercise defensive driving. Good pedestrian should practice defensive walking to avoid permanent disability.
Btw, I thought using hand held cell phone was illegal. They're doing it all over the place! When they use their cell phone, depending on which side of the ear the thing is stuck on, ....that side of the cell phone is a definite BLIND SPOT. They won't see the pedestrian crossing. Period!

Now go eat rice.

Doug Carlson said...

I agree, ojisan. Way too many pedestrians don't look out for their own welfare, which makes it even more important for drivers to drive with restraint -- IF we care about not killing people in our streets. I'm just not sure whether we care enough. And you're also right about the number of drivers who violate the law by using hand-held phones. If we can see them, do the police?