Back to School: Keeping our keiki safe

Capt. Jeff Bernard
Commander, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam

Our nation’s most precious resource is placed at greater risk at this time of year. I’m referring to our keiki and the beginning of the school year. There are no less than a dozen schools either on Joint Base or within a short commuting distance, making for potentially dangerous conditions, with so many vehicles on the road, converging with so many students heading back to school. All it takes is a few moments of driver inattention to result in what could be a serious tragedy.

Our children can be the most vulnerable pedestrians (the elderly can also be vulnerable). Often keiki are harder to spot than adults and they have been known to dash here and there unpredictably. A child unexpectedly running into an intersection may be the child’s fault, but it is still the driver’s responsibility to expect the unexpected, especially near schools and playgrounds.

We must do everything we can to keep our keiki safe. This means obeying the speed limit and stopping for all pedestrians in a crosswalk. When entering a crosswalk area, slow down and be prepared to stop. I understand that it’s easy to get frustrated while driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic, but there is no reason why that frustration should result in recklessness when approaching a school zone. Take deep breaths, count to 10, do whatever works for you to keep yourself alert and calm while driving on or near Joint Base. Don’t be a distracted driver. The future of our most precious resource depends on your vigilance.

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Category: News