Williams, Walsh & O'Connor, LLC

Pedestrian fatalities have increased every year since 2005

In 2015, we saw the economy improve; gas prices dropped, and more drivers spent time on the road. Reports show that we also saw an estimated 10 percent increase in pedestrian deaths. The Governors Highway Safety Association points to an overall increase in cellphone use for both drivers and pedestrians as a contributor to the higher fatality rate. In general, the researchers responsible for the report are concerned that pedestrian safety is at risk, not just in Connecticut, but all over the nation.

The report, which is based on state traffic fatality figures for the first half of 2015, suggests that year may have seen the highest increase in year-to-year pedestrian deaths since 1975. According to the report, there were 2,368 fatalities in the first half of 2015 while there were 2,232 during the same time in 2014.

The country has been experiencing an increase in pedestrian deaths every single year for more than a decade. Furthermore, pedestrian fatalities make up 15 percent of the totality of motor vehicle-related deaths.

Almost 75 percent of pedestrian fatalities happen after the sun goes down. Of those nighttime deaths, nearly 33 percent had been consuming alcohol before the fatal encounter with traffic, while about 15 percent of drivers involved in these accidents were intoxicated.

Other studies have shown that the three groups at greatest risk are children, people over 65, and those under the influence of alcohol. Regardless of whether you fall into one of these groups, it is important to always take precautions while walking.

First, always try to cross the street at intersections. Most drivers are already in the habit of looking for pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections, and they typically are not looking for you in other areas. However, keep in mind that just because the sign says "walk," it does not mean you are safe. Drivers might be distracted and run the light or make a right turn through the crosswalk. Second, if a sidewalk is available, use it. If there is no sidewalk, be sure to walk against oncoming traffic. Stay visible, especially at night. Try to wear brightly colored or reflective clothing that will get a driver's attention.

Unfortunately, no matter how many precautions we take or safety tips we follow, it is not always possible to avoid injury. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a negligent driver while walking, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries and lost wages.

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