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New Haven crash underlines safety shortfalls

A recent pedestrian fatality in New Haven has raised concerns over the state and local governments' ability to safeguard pedestrians. Proposed legislation and safety regulations to prevent pedestrian accidents have received new attention.

An 81-year-old woman was struck and killed in the intersection of Olive and Green Street in the city's Wooster Square neighborhood. An investigation is trying to determine whether the driver was texting and driving at the time of the crash. Local activists also claim that street designs are inappropriate, pedestrian protection initiatives are needed and there is inadequate police enforcement.

Connecticut lawmakers recently failed -- for the third time -- to pass a bill allowing cities in the state to install cameras to capture the license plates of vehicles that run red lights. However, opponents provided heavy opposition to the measure because of civil liberty objections.

Connecticut did pass the Vulnerable Users Bill in 2014. Drivers may be fined $1,000 for acting with improper care and caution, injure or kill vulnerable users such as pedestrians or bicyclists.

Cities could also enact widely-accepted pedestrian safety measures, according to activists, such as increased enforcement of distracted driving laws, traffic safety devices and traffic speeds. Local governments should also add speed bumps and provide better education to motorists and pedestrians.

Connecticut pedestrians and bicyclist continue to face this ongoing fatal problem. Victims of a fatal pedestrian accident and their families should seek advice to assure that their right to compensation for serious injuries, loss wages and other damages is protected.

Source: Yale Daily News, "Pedestrian accident raises traffic concerns," Jiahui Hu, Nov. 7, 2014

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