With pedestrian accidents seemingly on the rise in Connecticut, local activists have been requesting changes to state laws regarding the punishment drivers receive for their involvement. A bill was recently passed that would increase the fines these drivers are ordered to pay if they severely injure or cause the death of an individual in a pedestrian accident. This bill has been a long time coming for activists, who feel the safety of pedestrians hasn't been taken seriously in the past.
These fines extend to accidents that involve all "vulnerable users" of Connecticut roadways. This includes -- but is not limited to -- people walking or biking and goes even further to include those riding horses or driving tractors. The vast majority of local lawmakers voted in favor of the bill, which was ultimately passed by the Senate with no objections.
With this new bill in place, drivers involved in a serious or fatal pedestrian accident will face higher fines of up to $1,000, if convicted of failing to use reasonable care behind the wheel. This is on top of other criminal charges already in place -- such as negligent homicide or assault with a motor-vehicle. Activists and state representatives believe this is a positive step forward in protecting and providing justice for pedestrians.
A pedestrian accident that results in serious injury can create unnecessary physical and financial hardship to the victim. These same incidents that result in fatalities may leave family members grieving the loss of their loved one and also struggling to cover the monetary losses associated with the crash. Personal injury or wrongful death claims may be filed in a Connecticut civil court in order for surviving victim's or families of the deceased to seek recovery of the financial setbacks they have endured. If the driver deemed accountable for the accident is held liable, compensatory damages may be awarded.
Source: articles.courant.com, "Lawmakers OK Heavier Fines For Drivers Who Injure Or Kill Cyclists, Pedestrians", Gregory B. Hladky, May 1, 2014