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U.S. Pedestrian Deaths See Largest Increase Ever

Low-perspective shot of person's legs and feet walking down an empty road

With the devastating effects of COVID-19 felt everywhere, 2020 was a brutal year.

It was also a year with paradoxical outcomes.

One in particular, sharply higher pedestrian deaths, is now being closely examined by traffic safety experts.

Last year saw the largest percentage jump in pedestrian deaths on a vehicle miles driven basis in American history – rising 21% year over year.

The stunning rise in pedestrian deaths is particularly noteworthy given that vehicular traffic dropped so dramatically as a result of the pandemic.

So, what’s going on?

Safety experts have identified several causes.

First is the finding that there was a rise in disabled vehicle crashes. In these accidents, pedestrians are injured or killed exiting, returning to, or repairing a disabled vehicle. These typically occur in low visibility.

Another cause was excessive speed. With reduced traffic levels, more drivers traveled at speeds far exceeding legal limits. In Connecticut alone, vehicular speeds in April and May were among the highest ever recorded.

A third cause was the rise in the number of intoxicated drivers. Last year saw sharp increases in alcohol and drug abuse.

Finally, the pandemic left many without access to gyms. The result… a dramatic increase in the number of runners and walkers.

It’s important to note that rising pedestrian deaths is not a new problem in the U.S. In just the last ten years, pedestrian deaths have increased over 46% - with pedestrian deaths at night increasing by 54%.

What’s the solution?

First, states and municipalities must do a better job of designing roads that better accommodate pedestrians.

Pedestrians also need to become more aware of the danger, and walk or run with great care.

And then there are the drivers. Anyone who takes a seat behind the wheel of a car or truck needs to set all distractions aside and drive with greater care, remembering that the average car weighs two tons. The average truck – four tons. Each can move at high speeds. Weight combined with speed is a deadly combination.

If you or a loved one are ever in a pedestrian accident in Connecticut, know that the Connecticut personal injury lawyers at RisCassi & Davis have been assisting people like you for over 60 years. And we have received both state and national recognition for our work in this area. If you are ever injured in an accident of any kind and would like a free consultation with one of our Connecticut injury lawyers, please contact us. There is no obligation.

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