Connecticut Universities Work to Improve Pedestrian Safety

In March, 2011, a University of Connecticut student was hit by a university shuttle bus that was driven by a fellow student. The pedestrian died from the injuries. Spurred on by this tragedy, the UConn Board of Trustees recently approved a $2 million initiative to improve pedestrian safety on the campus.

The initiative included funds for sidewalk replacement, improved lighting, road repair and draining improvement for campus roadways. In addition, the shuttle buses have also been installed with audible alerts that warn pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers when the buses are turning.

In addition to UConn's efforts, Western Connecticut State University has created a task force dedicated to pedestrian safety in response to a hit-and-run collision that killed one of its students in November, 2011. Dubbed the White Street Task Force, the group is working with the city's engineering department to lower speed limits and improve signage and crosswalks along White Street, where the student was killed.

The University of Hartford also recently acted to improve pedestrian safety. It has added raised crosswalks that double as speed bumps and brighter signage to the roads adjacent to the campus.

Pedestrian Accidents a Persistent Problem

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2010, 4,280 people were killed in pedestrian-motor vehicle crashes-nearly 12 people per day. In addition, about 70,000 pedestrian injuries were reported for the same year. Experts, however, believe that the number of injuries are significantly higher, as only a fraction of pedestrian injuries are reported to the police.

Statistics show that most pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas, at night and at areas without a designated crosswalk. To lessen the likelihood of injury, pedestrians should carry a flashlight and wear reflective clothing when walking at night. In addition, pedestrians should only cross the street at a crosswalk and walk against traffic if there is no sidewalk.

Taking commonsense precautions while walking can greatly reduce the risk of an accident. However where pedestrians and motor vehicles meet, there will always be some risk of injury. If you or a loved one has been injured by an inattentive or hit-and-run driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can advise you of your rights and pursue all means of compensation available to you.