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Connecticut ranks 27th in U.S. for pedestrian safety

Connecticut ranks among the lower half of the states in pedestrian safety according to a report issued by the National Complete Streets Coalition. The state was also designated the 27th worst state for pedestrian safety according to the report, Dangerous by Design 2014. The report found that 351 residents were killed in pedestrian accidents on Connecticut's roads from 2003 to 2012.

Connecticut's pedestrian danger index is 35 compared to the national average of 52.2. The index is calculated based on the share of local commuters who walk to their jobs and the previous five years of pedestrian fatality data. A higher number on the index reflects an increased danger to walkers.

The report ranked Vermont as the safest state with a pedestrian danger index of 13. Florida was listed as the nation's most dangerous state with a pedestrian danger index of 168.6 and 5,189 pedestrian deaths from 2003 to 2012.

More than half of pedestrian accidents in Connecticut took place on arterial roads that are designed and operated to maximize vehicle speed. Pedestrian safety and comfort are not design considerations even though the roads go through places where pedestrians need and want to walk.

Slower speeds lower the risk of a fatal pedestrian accident, according to the report. From 2003 to 2012, approximately 35 percent of pedestrian deaths occurred on roads with a speed limit of 40 mph or higher. The state suffered only 0.3 percent of pedestrian fatalities on roads governed by a 20 mph or lower speed limit.

The AARP, a co-sponsor of the report, has also taken an interest in the safety of walkers. Senior citizens constitute one of every five pedestrian fatalities. Adults over 65 accounted for 28 percent of pedestrian accident deaths in Connecticut from 2003 to 2010.

Connecticut has begun to combat this problem. A new state law state contains fines for any driver who does not exercise reasonable care and causes the serious injury or death of a walker, highway worker or wheelchair-bound pedestrian. Fines will be up to $1,000.

This report demonstrates, however, that pedestrians will continue to be at risk in Connecticut. Pedestrians and their families should seek advice when an accident does occur to help assure that fault is determined and that proper compensation is paid for death, serious injuries and other losses.

Source: Connecticut Post, "Report ranks states on pedestrian deaths," Amanda Cuda, May 21, 2014

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