National safety organization concerned on pedestrian safety

Connecticut suffered 36 pedestrian fatalities in 2013 according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. However, the Governor's Highway Safety Association has recognized that this problem is not limited to Connecticut and has impacted the entire country. The GHSA represents state highway safety bureaus that operate programs to address highway safety issues such as passenger protection, impaired driving and speeding.

According to the GHSA, the number of pedestrians killed in auto crashes in the United States did not significantly change in 2014 from 2013 based upon figures for the first six months of each year. However, the number of deaths in 2014 was 15 percent higher than 2009.

Pedestrians were 14 percent of all automobile fatalities in 2013 which was a three percent increase from the past decade. Pedestrian deaths comprised 13 percent of all traffic deaths in Connecticut in 2013, according to the NHTSA.

During the first half of 2013, 2,141 persons were killed in pedestrian accidents in the United States. For that period in 2014, there were 2,125 fatalities.

Pedestrian deaths among the elderly and children fell. While pedestrians who were 70 and older traditionally had the highest number of deaths, this rate fell from 9.3 to 2.2 in 2013. However, the death rate in the 20 to 69-year-old age group rose 29 percent between 1975 and 2014.

Alcohol played a large role in these accidents across the country. Thirty-six percent of pedestrians over 16-years-old involved in fatal accidents had a blood alcohol content that exceeded the legal limit of .08 percent.

The GHSA has recognized possible solutions to this problem. These include distribution of safety pamphlets, using crossing guards at high risk intersections, police participation in safety patrols and engineering improvements such as pedestrian refuge islands, longer pedestrians signal timing and less obscured crosswalks. New York City's Vision Zero Plan lowered the city speed limit from 30 miles-per-hour to 25 mph, increased enforcement of pedestrian safety laws and made infrastructure improvements.

Victims of a speeding, negligent or drunk driver will still need assistance to seek compensation for serious injuries and other losses in a lawsuit as Connecticut combats this problem. Prompt legal advice should be sought to help assure that there is just compensation.

Source: Governor's Highway Safety Administration, "Pedestrian fatalities remain high in 2014," Retrieved March 11, 2015

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