Pedestrians and laws concerning right of way

Walking along the street on a sidewalk s generally a nice, enjoyable, and safe activity for Connecticut residents. Unfortunately, this can all change when a pedestrian seeks to cross the road. Whether it is in a controlled or uncontrolled crosswalk, pedestrians are afforded the right-of-way at certain times. When motorists fail to stop or yield to a pedestrian, a serious or fatal pedestrian accident can result

Based on current statistics, from 2006 to 2012, pedestrian deaths in traffic-related incidents rose to its highest level. This rate increased by 6.4 percent, resulting in 4,743 pedestrian fatalities in 2012. Even more so, pedestrian injuries rose by 10 percent during this timeframe. When looking at total traffic deaths, pedestrians now make up 14 percent, which is up from the recorded 11 percent in 2011.

As a means to address the concern of pedestrian crashes and to increase the safety of pedestrians in general, specific laws have been passed by each state. These laws help explain when a pedestrian has the right-of-way, emphasizing the duties of motorists. This also helps illustrate when a motorist has acted negligently when an accident occurs.

For example, in Connecticut, a motorist must yield to a pedestrian when they are within a marked or unmarked crosswalk the moment the pedestrian steps off of a curb and enters the crosswalk. Vehicles that cross over a sidewalk must give pedestrians the right-of-way. In comparison, pedestrians must yield to vehicles when they are crossing the street outside of a marked or unmarked crosswalk. Finally, when devices control traffic, pedestrians may only cross between two adjacent intersections in a marked crosswalk when signaled by a traffic control device.

When a pedestrian crash occurs, it is important to understand cause and fault. If a driver fails to adhere to the laws regarding a pedestrian's right-of-way, then that fact may help a victim prove negligence. A victim of a pedestrian accident could hold a negligent motorist liable for damages suffered by filing a personal injury claim. If successful on this claim, a victim could recover compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, rehabilitation, lost wages, and other related damages.

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, "Pedestrian Crossing: 50 State Summary," July 7, 2016

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