Connecticut saw a spike in pedestrian deaths in 2016, when at least 54 people died crossing the state’s roads. This makes 2016 the most deadly year for pedestrians in Connecticut since 1995. This spike is part of a nationwide increase: in 2015, 5,376 pedestrians died on American roads, the highest total since 1996.
Here in Connecticut there were a total of 1,402 reported accidents involving pedestrians in 2016. Authorities are aware of the spike, but they are hesitant to attribute it to anything more than heavier traffic on roads here in Connecticut and nationwide.
What causes pedestrian accidents? What are the most common types of accidents? And most importantly, how can you protect yourself from harm, both while crossing the street and when you’re behind the wheel?
How Do Pedestrian Injuries Happen?
In the wake of the recent spike in pedestrian deaths, it is natural to ask what could be causing the increase in fatalities. Eric Jackson, director of the Connecticut Transportation Safety Research Center, thinks the rise in pedestrian deaths could simply be the result of warm weather in 2016.
“We didn’t have a lot of snow, so you have a lot of more people out there walking. There’s a lot of people during the winter time that are out, walking around while cars are driving faster,” Jackson told the New Haven Register.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) statistics on pedestrian accidents make Jackson’s statements seem credible. The CDOT found in 2014 that the most common time for accidents involving pedestrians to take place was between the hours of 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Thirty-three percent of accidents involving pedestrians happen during this four-hour window.
Not only do pedestrian injuries reach their highest point during peak walking hours, but more pedestrian accidents take place on Fridays than any other day. Pedestrian accidents hit their lowest point on Sundays, when people are most likely to stay home.
With those facts in mind, Jackson’s hypothesis that the mild weather was the main cause of the spike in deaths seems very plausible.
What are the Most Common Types of Injuries?
Pedestrians most commonly receive injury to the lower extremities and the area of the head, face, and neck. Half of all pedestrian injuries severe enough to warrant medical treatment involve some damage of the lower extremities.
When someone is injured in the lower extremities, the most common injuries are in the legs and the knees. When it comes to head injuries, the most common occurrence is that the pedestrian is knocked unconscious.
It is important to note that pedestrian accidents involving trucks are roughly five times more likely to be lethal than accidents involving other types of vehicles.
The CDOT’s findings indicate that while pedestrian accidents reported to the police can be limited to property damage only, most involve some form of serious injury. Out of 11,494 pedestrian accidents occurring between 2005 and 2014, only 708 (or about six percent) were free of injury.
Safety Tips for Drivers and Pedestrians
The best way to avoid being involved in a pedestrian accident is simply to drive smart, walk smart, and be aware of your surroundings at all times. It is important to be aware of the safety practices that have the potential to save your life, your loved ones’ lives, and the lives of everyone out there on the road.
- Tips for drivers:
- Don’t text while driving.
- Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.
- Obey the speed limit.
- Tips for pedestrians:
- Don’t text while crossing the street.
- Look both ways before you cross. That means looking left, then right, then left again before stepping into the road.
- If you are in an area where crosswalks are available, cross at the crosswalks.
Contact our Firm
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, the Connecticut personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Ronald M. Scherban, P.C. can help. Time is often of the essence in these types of cases, so it is important to reach out to us as soon as possible. Our legal team will review your case and determine your best course of action moving forward.
The Law Office of Ronald M. Scherban, P.C. represents clients in the greater New Haven area and the entire state of Connecticut. Call us today at (203) 865-6414 to learn more about what we can do for you.