Safety Campaign Shows Deadly Connecticut Roads Can Improve for Pedestrians

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign recently released data about Connecticut’s most dangerous roads for pedestrians. U.S. 5 and Boston Post Road are the worst in the state. Pedestrian deaths happened the most in New Haven County with 38 deaths, followed by Hartford County with 34 deaths and Fairfield County with 22.

The campaign hopes to show government officials and transportation authorities how these specific roads do not help pedestrians or bicyclists be safe. The roads are designed for large volumes of vehicles, with little to no infrastructure for bike lanes, sidewalks, or safe crosswalks.

“The real issue facing pedestrian safety is the fatalities are occurring on roads that are designed to move cars as fast as possible, with little regard for how to accommodate pedestrians,” said Ryan Lynch, the campaign’s policy director.

Pedestrian accidents and deaths have been rising across the nation. The latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that injuries jumped to 19 percent and deaths increased 4.2 percent from the previous year. In the four previous years of data pedestrian incidents had decreased, so the reversal is causing much-needed attention to our streets and walking environments.

Due to economic reasons such as high gas prices, some experts say that more people are walking to conserve costs. Others think that because people are more distracted by handheld devices, distractions are causing more of the accidents. Texting, checking email, or posting on social media can take your eyes off the road and cause an accident within seconds. Walkers can be just as guilty of using a cellphone and not paying attention to what is going on around them.

The NHTSA has also found that being intoxicated plays a major role in pedestrian accidents. Of all pedestrian fatalities, 48 percent were due to alcohol impairment. In 6 percent of the crashes, both the auto driver and the pedestrian were drunk. Calling a sober friend or cab is by far a better tactic than risking your life walking.

Cities can also make efforts to plan for better pedestrian and road design. Adequate lighting, sidewalks, and paved shoulders can make a big difference in urban and rural areas. Yield to pedestrian signs, curb ramps for those with disabilities for easier access, and pedestrian countdown signals are a few ways to help make walking safer.

The Federal Highway Administration recommends that for wide streets with two-way traffic, cities should incorporate pedestrian crossing islands where possible. A pedestrian can walk until he or she crosses to the island and then look again to ensure that no traffic is coming the opposing way. This strategy has cut down accidents by 40 percent in areas where it is utilized.

Alexandra Reed writes for Connecticut personal injury law firm, Stratton Faxon. Contact Stratton Faxon to speak with a Connecticut accident lawyer about your personal injury, wrongful death, or Connecticut malpractice case. To learn more, visit Strattonfaxon.

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