A new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows an alarming increase in pedestrian-related rashes across the country. The data shows that between 2009 and 2016 pedestrian-related deaths increased by 46 percent nationally.
According to the UConn Crash Data Repository, there have been 215 pedestrian-involved crashes in Connecticut since the start of January 2018. Among the 215, the data showed that nine of the pedestrian crashes were fatal.
Marie Armee said she walks every day in Middletown and is always careful, but even these statistics caught her by surprise.
“I’m surprised. I mean, I expect a little bit of an increase but not that much,” Armee said. “It’s terrible, because it’s something that could be avoided. People are losing their life, losing their daughters, their mothers, their fathers and that’s lifelong, you don’t get that back.”
In April, police said a woman was hit by a car in Windsor Locks while trying to cross Ella Grasso Turnpike. Investigators said she survived, but the man driving the car got out to help the woman and was hit by another vehicle and he was killed.
The study says speed, along with increased speed limits, are factors in most crashes. In addition, the IIHS believes higher speed limits in many municipalities around the country means a deadlier outcome when pedestrians are hit.
Researchers cite cell phones as possibly being part of the problem, but said there is not enough data to make a definitive conclusion about that.
The study says most of the pedestrian accidents are happening in urban or suburban areas along busy roads, away from intersections and often at night.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is calling for city and state governments to do a better job lighting and designating intersections and pedestrian crosswalks.
Researchers said pedestrians can play a part too by wearing bright and reflective clothing if walking at night.
“I do walk in the mornings sometimes and I will wear a brightly colored vest,” said Tamba Marino in Middletown.
Marino is careful during walks, but said most people need to pay more attention.
“I think that’s a shame. I do think that it’s both the pedestrians’ fault as well as the cars’. A lot of people walk across the streets and don’t look both ways like we were taught when we were younger,” Marino said.