While winter is still making an appearance across the nation, residents in Connecticut and elsewhere have experienced sure signs that spring is coming. As a result, more and more people tend to spend time outside whenever they can. But whether it is a cold winter day or a humid summer afternoon, many people rely on their own two feet as a form of transportation. Because of that, pedestrians are seen year round on city sidewalks, shopping centers, parking lots and residential areas.
There are many reasons and situations for Connecticut residents to travel by foot. Whether they are walking on a city sidewalk, taking a stroll in a park or residential area, walking in a parking lot or traveling in a crosswalk, it is fairly common to be a pedestrian in the state no matter what time of year it is. Although many pedestrians walk in areas where motor vehicle frequent, pedestrians are afforded rights. While driving laws work to protect pedestrians and increase their safety, some drivers unfortunately do not follow these rules. Such a situation results in serious and even fatal pedestrian accidents.
Crossing the street should be completely safe. Yet, distracted, drunk, and otherwise negligent drivers can make this simple task deadly. In fact, statistics show that Connecticut saw more than 50 pedestrian deaths in 2016, the most the state has seen since 1995. Even these numbers may be lower than they should be, though, as police departments may not be made aware that pedestrians later succumb to their injuries at the hospital. This discrepancy is enough to give rise to further concerns, as it appears that the state doesn't even know how big of a problem pedestrian accidents are for Connecticut residents.
Despite the seemingly never-ending increase in car ownership, many Connecticut residents continue to find themselves walking, jogging and biking on the state's roadways. Whether walking to one's car after shopping, taking a jog after a hard day of work or enjoying a weekend bike ride with family and friends, these individuals are at risk of harm. No matter have safe they are while near busy roads, an errant driver can take them by surprise and cause an injurious or fatal accident in the blink of an eye. Due to the lack of safety implements utilized by pedestrians, these individuals often suffer extensive harm that can ripple through their physical well-being to their emotional health and financial stability.
Connecticut pedestrians are in close proximity to moving motor vehicles on a daily basis. Whether one is walking on a sidewalk, getting into a parked car on the street or crossing the street, pedestrians put a lot of trust in drivers. These individuals hope motorists are paying attention, following the laws, and putting pedestrian safety first. Tragically, though, this is not always the case.
For several years, pedestrian and bike advocacy group in Connecticut have sought new laws to increase financial penalties for reckless drivers who cause pedestrian accidents and collide with cyclists. Earlier this month, this measure advanced through the General Assembly when the Transportation Committee approved a bill raising penalties who do not exercise due care in avoiding a crash with a pedestrian or cyclist.
The Governor's Highway Safety Association issued a report earlier this month estimating that the number of pedestrian accident fatalities in the United States grew by 10 percent from the first half of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014. This is the largest one-year increase in fatal pedestrian accidents since the Fatality Analysis Reporting System was established in 1975. Reports for earlier years varied from a 10.5 percent annual drop to an 8.1 percent increase for the country.
During the last month alone, the Bridgeport Police Department investigated three deadly pedestrian accidents. To fight this problem, Bridgeport officials announced a traffic safety blitz which will incorporate speed traps to catch reckless and distracted drivers, as well as a crackdown on jaywalking.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reported that Connecticut saw 47 pedestrian deaths in pedestrian accidents in 2014. However, the Auto Insurance Center also reviewed NHTSA data and issued a report identifying the states that were the most dangerous for pedestrians in 2014. America as a whole saw 5,000 pedestrian deaths that year. Intoxication was blamed as being involved in a disproportionate number of deaths in these crashes.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reported 47 deaths in pedestrian accidents in Connecticut in 2014. However, negligence is not the only cause of these accidents, which may also be blamed on reckless and even criminal behavior.