CONNECTICUT, USA — There has been a rash of pedestrians struck in intersections across the state. If you feel like they are on the rise, you are not wrong. Pedestrians struck and killed by vehicles are at a 30-year high.
Accidents involving pedestrians has been a cause for concern not just in Connecticut but across the country. The scenes are becoming all too familiar.
On Wednesday two pedestrians were struck in front of Electric Boat in New London.
"The vehicle was in the traffic circle, lost control went onto the sidewalk and struck both pedestrians," said Chief Peter Reichard of New London Police.
New Haven has seen four pedestrians struck and killed already in 2020. There were nine all of 2019. The rise had residents meeting a few weeks ago to discuss improvements to Whalley Avenue.
"You could just stand outside here and feel how dangerous that road is as a cyclist or pedestrian," said Rob Rocke
Middletown Police announced Thursday that Brooke Rich, 41, was killed in Wednesday night's hit and run. Police say a second car may have also struck the women. They are still looking for both cars involved.
These accidents are a difficult trend on the rise. From 2009 to 2018, traffic deaths for pedestrians struck by vehicles was up 53% while all other traffic deaths were up 2%.
"The problem is it's not just one thing. There’s a combination of factors," said Amy Parmenter.
Parmenter of Greater Hartford AAA says that fatalities from pedestrians struck by vehicles are up 20% in Connecticut from 2018 to 2019.
"And we're already at a significantly higher number of pedestrian fatalities this year as compared to the same time last year," said Parmenter.
Parmenter points to studies by the Governor's Highway Safety Association that alludes to many factors. Visibility, warmer weather, distracted driving, and impairment have been some of the biggest reasons for the spike.
"Alcohol is a big factor," said Parmenter. "Alcohol is a factor and almost 50% of pedestrian fatalities on both sides though."
Pedestrians share responsibility on the rise as well. Distractions from cellphones and crossing outside of crosswalks are cause for concern.
"Be as visible as possible. Don’t assume you can be seen. Assume you can’t be seen," said Parmenter.
Cities across the state and country are looking at dangerous intersections and streets to find ways to improve pedestrian safety. The State of Connecticut is discussing legislation that would give pedestrians the right of way in a crosswalk, increase fines for distracted driving and more.