What Is The Vision Zero Bill And How Will It Limit New Haven Pedestrian Accidents?

January 16, 2024
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If you follow this blog you know that New Haven pedestrian accidents and accidents involving pedestrians throughout the state of Connecticut have been of serious concern for legislators in the state. In fact, 2022 was one of the deadliest years on record for pedestrians in the state of Connecticut with over 300 deaths attributed to pedestrian accidents. These staggering numbers have been a catalyst for new legislation that aims to address the problem head on.

The new law that went into affect in 2024 is labeled the “Vision Zero Bill” and it’s aim is to address the rising deaths that are occurring via motor vehicle accidents that involve pedestrians and bicyclists throughout the state. The law, which is based on data that has been gathered in other states who have implemented similar laws will allow cities and towns to begin investing in speed cameras and red-light cameras to automate the enforcement of traffic violations around the state. While the state is not planning to mandate the use of this equipment there is guidance that is being provided to cities and towns around the implementation of this type of technology.

Another piece of the legislation will require that those who are getting their license for the first time or renewing their license (every other time a license is renewed) will be required to watch a safety video. The video, produced in collaboration with Watch For Me CT will aim to reeducate drivers on state laws that impact drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. The new legislation requires that the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) screen this video for anyone who is renewing their license, although it will only be required every other time a license is renewed.

In the meantime, you should be reminded about the safety measures you can take that may or may not be required by law to be a good citizen when sharing the road with pedestrians and bicyclists while you’re behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

1.) Be aware of the unpredictability of your environment. When driving around a congested area like downtown New Haven or other neighboring cities and towns you should make sure you are alert at all times for unexpected hazards that may affect your ability to drive safely. As the driver of a motor vehicle it is your responsibility to keep your eyes forward and alert for any pedestrian or bicyclist who may not be paying close attention who may dart out into on-coming traffic. Other hazards may include things like trash cans that are rolling out into the street, a child’s ball or an animal that unexpectedly juts out into traffic. These hazards can cause injury or death if you are not diligent in expecting the unexpected.

2.) Put down your cell phone. Your cell phone should not be in your hand whether you are driving on the highway or in a city, but especially through the crowded streets of a city. A split second looking at a text message or notification that came through on your cell phone could lead to a slight turn in your wheel which could lead to an accident. If you are planning on being on your cell phone you should pull over to a safe location and come to a complete stop while looking through your phone. If you cannot avoid using your phone while you’re driving you should either turn it off or stow it away in your glove compartment so it does not become a distraction to you while you’re driving.

3.) Be an active driver. What is an active driver? An active driver is someone who is consistently scanning the environment around them making sure that there is no trouble ahead. You should be able to use your peripheral vision and instincts to make sure that you are on the lookout for pedestrians in all areas of your drive including, but not limited to, residential neighborhoods, school zones, busy downtown areas and especially along routes where there are a large number of parked cars. Pedestrians may not always be crossing at identified crossing locations and so you will need to be on the lookout for them whenever you are driving in a congested area. If you are an active driver you will be much more likely to be able to spot a pedestrian and stop in time to avoid an incident.

With the rise in New Haven pedestrian accidents and accidents of this kind around the state we all play a role in eliminating or greatly reducing these types of incidents. While legislation like the Vision Zero Bill may help, it is incumbent upon all of us to make sure that we are vigilant in how we approach driving, especially in congested areas so these types of incidents don’t continue to happen. When we are all working together, the likelihood that these incidents will occur will most certainly decrease.

If you are ever involved in an accident whether you are the driver of a motor vehicle or a pedestrian who has been injured you may need to speak with an attorney about your situation. Contact our office and one of our experienced attorneys will review your situation and work with you to protect your long-term interests.