At every level there has been an alarming increase in the number of pedestrian accidents that are happening in our communities. There are more New Haven pedestrian accidents this year then last year and the number keeps rising. The state of Connecticut is seeing a spike in these types of accidents and so too is the entire country who has seen a 70% increase in pedestrian accidents since 2010.
Before understanding the cause of this dramatic increase, we need to look at the data to show just how serious of an issue this is to the health, safety and well-being of our population. In 2010, the number of pedestrian accidents that resulted in a death was 4,302 which is far too high of a number, but it honestly pales in comparison to the number that was reported in the most recent statistics for 2021 which was 7,388 pedestrians stuck and killed. This increase of 70% is alarming and is cause for great concern for all of us, especially the road safety community.
The next and right question to be asked is why is the spike happening. The short answer is trucks, but it’s a much more nuanced answer than that. It is important to understand that an increase of this magnitude cannot necessarily be pinned on one change in behavior, but rather a system that is failing to keep pedestrians safe along with other factors. Some of the factors that have led to the increase in pedestrian fatalities over the last 13 years include, but are not limited to the following;
1.) The rise in the sale of trucks and SUVs, vehicles that are much bigger and take up more space on the road with bigger blind spots. The number of fatalities caused by trucks over the last 10 years more than doubled from 732 to 1,773. In 2010 cars and trucks made up about an even distribution of sales and leases but by 2021 trucks represented 80% of all sales and leases in the United States.
2.) Pedestrians are more likely to die in an accident that involves a truck. Trucks are bigger and heavier and when they collide with a pedestrian they cause significantly more damage then when a lightweight car collides with a pedestrian. Of course this doesn’t mean that cars are not dangerous to pedestrians too, but there is a great risk associated with being struck by a heavier and bigger vehicle like a truck.
3.) Where people are getting into pedestrian accidents has actually changed over the last 10 years too. In 2021, pedestrians were more likely to get struck crossing a 4-5 lane road in the suburbs then along a busy city street. These suburban streets are generally in or near lower-income communities and have speed limits that are at or above 30 mph. When cars are traveling at higher speeds along these roads the reaction time is often slower, especially at night, and the greater the speed at which someone is struck, the more severe the injury is likely to be.
Pinpointing one reason for a rise in pedestrian accidents throughout the United States is a challenge, but there are some factors that are pointing to this rise including the increased popularity of trucks and a change in the country’s demographics. In the state of Connecticut officials are working on addressing these issues to reduce New Haven pedestrian accidents and those that are causing fatalities statewide. Until the time that laws can be enacted to improve this situation it is important to cross the street at marked locations, look both ways and never walk/cycle while distracted.
Injuries can be severe from pedestrian accidents and if you are ever injured you may need to speak with an attorney who has seen your type of situation before. Contact our office and one of our experienced attorneys will work with you to protect your long-term interests.