Preliminary figures released by the Connecticut Department of Transportation reveals that the number of pedestrians killed in motor vehicle accidents in the Constitution State rose in 2020 despite far lower traffic levels. Pedestrian deaths increased from 59 in 2019 to 65 in 2020, but the number of pedestrian accidents fell from 1,568 to 842. Experts believe that seeing fewer cars on the road could be encouraging drivers to exceed posted speed limits and engage in risky behavior like texting and driving.
A nationwide problem
Pedestrian fatalities have also risen worryingly in other parts of the country. Advocacy groups say excessive speed is likely the primary reason why more pedestrians are being killed in car accidents even though fewer are being struck by motor vehicles. A report published in January by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that motorists in 2020 drove faster than they did in 2019 on interstate highways, rural roads and city streets. The speed increase observed in metropolitan areas was an alarming 22%.
Measures being considered by lawmakers to protect pedestrians in Connecticut include requiring motorists to yield to people who indicate that they intend to enter a crosswalk, lowering speed limits and increasing fines for using cellphones behind the wheel. The DOT supports these proposals and has also called for parking restrictions within 25 feet of a crosswalk.
Wrongful death lawsuits
Pedestrians killed in motor vehicle accidents are often breadwinners, and their deaths may leave their families in precarious financial situations. When a pedestrian is killed because a driver exceeded the posted speed limit or drove while impaired or distracted, an experienced personal injury attorney may seek damages for their lost income in a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of their dependent family members. An attorney could also seek compensation for expenses like medical bills and burial costs.