There’s bad news out there for pedestrians in Connecticut and the rest of the country. The Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that 2019 has seen more pedestrian deaths than any time in the past 30 years. In Connecticut (which still has a better safety rating for pedestrians than many other states), fatalities among pedestrians rose 20% between 2017 and 2018 — and there have been 14 pedestrian deaths in just the first two months of 2020.
Pedestrian accidents aren’t just becoming more common, they’re getting deadlier — and officials think they know why. It comes down to a few specific factors:
- Cellphone use and misuse. Cellphones are a big part of American life, and people don’t always think to put them down when they’re behind the wheel.
- Crosswalks are not really reliable. In some areas, pedestrians have to step fully into crosswalks to signal their intent to drivers. Other places, crosswalks are too far apart to be useful to the majority of walkers — forcing people to jaywalk instead.
- Lights are badly timed. When traffic lights and crosswalk lights don’t match up, drivers and walkers alike can get confused. Confusion always leads to more accidents.
- Vehicle sizes have increased. Large sports utility vehicles and trucks are popular, but they also do a lot more damage than regular passenger cars if they hit someone.
- Speed limits are too high. Many neighborhoods with a lot of walkers would benefit from lower speeds for cars.
Look for more changes in traffic patterns and your city’s infrastructure as public officials respond to the growing concerns about pedestrian safety. If you get injured in a pedestrian accident, find out more about your rights.