NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Pedestrian safety is a growing concern across Connecticut, with an increase in deaths in recent years.
The latest was on Wednesday morning when a man was killed in a hit-and-run crash in New Haven. Police say the investigation is ongoing.
Leaders say since 2015, more than 21% of pedestrian fatalities across Connecticut are hit-and-runs. It’s becoming a familiar scene of crime tape, emergency flashing lights, and investigators looking for answers with drivers nowhere to be found.
“We have a real challenge around dangerous driving, and it’s been going on for all too long in New Haven,” said New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker.
It’s not just in New Haven. In the last month alone, there have been fatal hit-and-runs across the state, including in East Hartford and West Hartford.
Eric Jackson tracks traffic trends for Connecticut’s Transportation Institute at UConn and says since 2015, and says there’s been an uptick in hit-and-runs in the state.
“We’ve had 300 pedestrian fatalities that were not a hit-and-run, 93 that were identified by the police department as a hit-and-run, and then there were 40 crashes where the officer didn’t document whether it was or was not a hit-and-run,” Jackson said. “So, that field on the crash report form was left blank.”
Elicker says victims’ families want answers.
“They want justice,” Elicker said. “They can’t bring their loved one back, but it’s important for us to ensure that people are accountable.”
They’re also working to improve traffic safety. New Haven’s City Engineer Giovanni Zinn says the current ‘Safe Routes for All’ initiative is meant to improve infrastructure.
“People can still get through those corridors and use them in motor vehicles, but do so in a way that is respectful and protective of the vulnerable users such as pedestrians,” Zinn said.
New Haven is one of six Connecticut communities announced to receive federal funding to help improve safety. The Elm City will get $400,000 to help prevent pedestrian deaths.