Connecticut’s varied and busy roadway system is exemplary for getting people where they want to go.
Yet it is not risk-free.
In fact, traffic across Connecticut often poses distinct challenges for the traveling public. Conscientious and ever-alert drivers negotiate space on streets and highways with other motorists whose negligent behind-the-wheel behaviors are obvious and even glaring.
Bad drivers put other road sharers in imminent danger by speeding, tailgating, weaving across lanes, forgoing use of turn signals and failing to lawfully yield or stop. Some focus more on on-board tech toys and texting than they do on surrounding traffic. Distracted driving prominently embraces activities ranging from grooming and eating to playing with pets and – yes – even momentarily sleeping. Some motorists drive drunk.
The repercussions of such conduct are clear and too often adverse. One Connecticut legal source addressing motor vehicle crashes and resulting outcomes underscores that, noting that car accidents “can result in devastating injuries.”
That is nowhere more apparent than concerning one distinct demographic, which we spotlight below.
The outsized vulnerability of Connecticut pedestrians
Walkers across Connecticut comprise the highest at-risk group when it comes to vehicle accidents and injury outcomes.
That is hardly surprising, right? Pedestrians are flatly exposed in any encounter involving a motorized vehicle. Broad-based empirical evidence highlights just how serious a problem pedestrian injuries and deaths are in Connecticut. Here are a couple key takeaways relevant to 2020 that were recently reported in the Connecticut online media publication The Day:
- 840-plus motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians
- 65 pedestrian fatalities
The Day stresses a heightened significance attached to those numbers, namely this: Those statistics link to a year where motorized activity on state roadways was highly curtailed owing to the ongoing health pandemic. Notwithstanding that, walker fatalities in 2020 still exceeded those that occurred during 2019.
The bottom line: 2020 was “exceptionally deadly” for Connecticut’s pedestrians.
How can Connecticut’s pedestrian safety picture be improved?
Last year was unquestionably notable from a lawmaking perspective, given than many proposed legislative bills stalled as a result of the health crisis.
One of those would-be laws was introduced in the Connecticut Assembly before being shelved. It is now being dusted off and garnering renewed attention. Lawmakers might soon be asked to consider a number of walker-friendly initiatives, including these:
- Expanded right-of-way prerogatives for walkers seeking to cross intersections
- More power given to municipalities that seek to lower speed limits within their communities (that is, less required state-level input)
- Hiked fines doled out to individuals caught using cellphones while driving
Passage of any of those proposals would certainly spell relief for what is unquestionably a notably exposed group.
Walkers are vulnerable. They need all the legal protection they can get.