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Bridgeport combatting rise in pedestrian deaths

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.

This is the latest attempt to fight this problem, which has been hampered by vacancies resulting from early retirements in the police department's traffic division. The department claims that it has only five of its needed 16 police officers. This year, however, the city anticipates receiving funding from the state to cover overtime for the traffic division during this spring and summer.

In 2013, police addressed this issue after five fatal or serious pedestrian accidents in the late spring and summer of that year. Two accidents involved small children. Bridgeport made another low-Tech and criticized approach in 2014 by making yellow flags available to pedestrians to wave at oncoming traffic at crosswalks near City Hall.

Accidents this year involved a 41-year-old woman and her son, who were struck while crossing a Bridgeport street in January. The mother later died from her injuries. An 87-year-old pedestrian was killed on February 6. A vehicle struck another 31-year-old pedestrian who was crossing the street four days later.

Pedestrians in Bridgeport and throughout Connecticut have almost no protection against a reckless or negligent driver in a powerful vehicle. The state suffered 47 fatalities in 2014, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This was a substantial increase from the 37 deaths from a fatal pedestrian accident that were reported one year earlier. These victims and their families may need to get more information about their legal rights to help assure that they can obtain evidence to file a timely personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

Source: Connecticut Post, "Pedestrian deaths drive safety crackdown in Bridgeport," By Brian Lockhart, Feb. 25, 2016

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