A new study shows that Connecticut pedestrians older than 60 years account for most of the fatalities in the state — and their portion of the total deaths is on the rise.
From 2008 through 2010, 44 pedestrians aged 60 years and older were killed on Connecticut roads, according to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. Although only 19 percent of the state’s population, this age group accounted for over 36 percent of the total pedestrian fatalities during the three-year period. Those aged 75 years and older represent almost 7 percent of Connecticut’s population, but nearly 15 percent of pedestrian deaths.
Since the group’s previous senior report, which looked at pedestrian fatalities from 2007 through 2009, the fatality rate increased for pedestrians aged 60 years and older. The fatality rate for pedestrians aged 75 years and older decreased since the Campaign’s last report.
Both the Campaign and AARP Connecticut expressed concern over the increased fatality rate for pedestrians aged 60 and older.
“As our population ages, it is critical that we address this growing problem to make our roadways safer for older residents and all users. AARP strongly supports roadway safety improvements which will save lives and further enhance the livability of our communities,” Jennifer Millea, associate state director of communications for AARP Connecticut, said in a statement.
Nationwide, the pedestrian fatality rate for older Americans is more than 1.5 times that for those under 60 years. But the disparities in Connecticut are even greater. The pedestrian fatality rate for Connecticut residents over 60 years is 2.41 times that of those younger than 60 years. People 75 years and older suffer a fatality rate that is 2.76 times that of their younger neighbors.
Room for Improvement
The Campaign recommended that ConnDOT develop and fund Safe Routes for Seniors and Safe Routes to Transit programs as well as ensure that safety funds are spent on pedestrian safety projects, especially for areas around transit.
To pay for pedestrian and bicyclist safety projects, the group says the state should commit to using the full allotment of its federal Transportation Alternatives funds. The Campaign also recommended that the state legislature pass a vulnerable users bill that would stiffen penalties for drivers that recklessly kill or injure pedestrians, bicyclists, highway workers, or state troopers.
Tri-State staff analyst Renata Silberblatt conducted the Campaign’s analysis using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and the U.S. Bureau of the Census to examine fatality rates by age and gender for each county in New Jersey, downstate New York and Connecticut.
The full report, as well as county fact sheets and maps showing the locations of pedestrian fatalities throughout the region can be found at www.tstc.org.
This story was based on a press release.