Governor launches pedestrian safety effort

Connecticut’s Governor recently launched an effort to improve safety for pedestrians to start in East Hartford.

Just this month, the Governor announced a concerted effort to make Connecticut a safer place for pedestrians. Beginning in East Hartford, Route 44 will be getting a makeover that is believed to reduce accidents by as much as 47 percent. It will include redoing sidewalks, moving some bus stops and reducing the number of driving lanes.

Why the effort?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Connecticut has experienced a significant number of pedestrian fatalities in recent years, peaking with 46 such deaths in 2010. The most recent statistics are from 2013 in which 36 people on foot died statewide.

In New Haven County in 2013, seven out of 55 total vehicular fatalities were pedestrians. In both 2012 and 2010, the county lost 13 pedestrians each. Another 13 pedestrians died in 2011 and 2009 combined.

Around the state in 2013, Hartford County experienced the most deaths from pedestrian-vehicle accidents with 12 such fatalities. Eight pedestrians died in Fairfield County and three in Windham County. Middlesex, New London and Tolland Counties each lost two pedestrians. Only Litchfield County did not record any pedestrian deaths that year.

A look at some recent stories

News stories give accounts of motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians that show the wide range of situations in which these crashes can arise. FoxCT.com noted that a couple's vehicle was stopped and the husband was standing next to it when he was hit by another vehicle. The driver has lost control of her vehicle and crossed over a double-yellow line into the other traffic lanes. The man was killed and his wife was injured in the accident. The driver continued on until hitting yet another vehicle further down the road and has since been arrested for negligent homicide with a motor vehicle.

A 17-year old boy from Bridgeport was simply walking across a street when he was struck in a tragic hit-and-run accident. The driver has yet to be located. The boy suffered injuries that were life threatening according to WTNH.com and was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital for treatment.

Anyone can be a pedestrian

It is not only joggers or dog walkers that are classified as pedestrians. A person walking across a parking lot or standing at a bus stop on a sidewalk is considered a pedestrian. A person on the side of a road tending to a stalled vehicle can be a pedestrian. A mother pushing a stroller on the way to a park is a pedestrian.

Many everyday life situations put people in the position of being pedestrians-and at risk for being hit by motorists. Contacting a lawyer after any vehicle-pedestrian accident should be a top priority for any victim or relative of a victim. This can be one way of getting appropriate help after a senseless accident happens.