(WTNH) – This year is turning into the deadliest for Connecticut pedestrians in more than three decades. The latest fatality happened Wednesday night. This time, a 74-year-old on North High Street East Haven.
“The investigation determined that the pedestrian had parked his vehicle in the northbound lane and crossed over into the southbound lane, which is when he was struck,” said Captain Joseph Murgo of the East Haven Police Department.
That makes 74 pedestrian traffic fatalities so far in 2022. The Connecticut Department of Transportation says that is the most in Connecticut in 34 years.
“Over the last several years, it’s been 40 or 50, sometimes 60,” explained DOT spokesman Josh Morgan. “74 is really a spike when you look at the chart. We have to go back to the mid-’80s to see a level this high.”
Just this month, we saw 2 people killed by a hit-and-run driver in Stamford, another hit-and-run death in Derby, two separate hit-and-run deaths in West Hartford in 24 hours, and a day later, a pedestrian killed in Norwich. This Tuesday a 45-year-old woman was killed in Killingly, then Wednesday in East Haven.
“It’s not just Connecticut that’s seeing an increase in pedestrian fatalities and fatalities as a whole. The entire country is seeing this increase,” explained Eric Jackson, the executive director of the state’s Transportation Safety Research Center at UConn.
“Drivers are driving a lot faster, a lot more reckless, they’re not paying attention as much as they should be,” Jackson said. “We’re seeing pedestrians struck in crosswalk, just trying to get across the road.”
Jackson and Morgan say they want to see statewide efforts to slow drivers down. That could mean things like raised crosswalks, or cameras that catch speeders. And they are hoping for no more fatalities on New Year’s weekend.
“If they’re going out this weekend, to plan a sober ride, plan to use public transportation or a ride-sharing service,” Morgan said. “Do not get behind the wheel if they’re impaired. They’re putting themselves and other people at risk.”
The latest fatality in East Haven happened very close to the police station on a road that is narrow and dark and does not have sidewalks. Police say pedestrians need to keep things like that in mind to keep themselves safe. Be sure to stay where it is well-lit and wear easily-visible clothing.