Because of the size difference between pedestrians and motor vehicles, walkers and joggers often suffer catastrophic injuries when cars, trucks and SUVs collide with them. Sadly, in 2019 alone, more than 6,000 pedestrians also died in traffic accidents in the U.S.
To keep pedestrians safe, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a couple of new laws. These laws, which took effect on October 1, 2021, impose a $500 fine on those who do not yield to pedestrians in or near crosswalks.
The new law
Connecticut’s new law applies to crosswalks that do not have traffic signals or police officers present, regardless of whether the crosswalk has markings. This law requires drivers to yield to pedestrians under any of the following circumstances:
- Pedestrians are in the crosswalk.
- Pedestrians step to the curb and wave to approaching drivers to signal their intention to cross the street.
- Pedestrians put any part of their bodies or possessions into the crosswalk.
A dooring prohibition
Dooring is a potentially dangerous activity that involves opening a car’s door into traffic. Along with beefing up protection for pedestrians, the Constitution State’s new laws place restrictions on dooring. Specifically, they prevent individuals from touching their car doors to moving vehicles, provided the vehicles are moving at reasonable speeds. These laws also require drivers to shut car doors quickly.
At $500, fines for violating pedestrian-safety rules are steeper than the penalties for many other driving infractions. If drivers disregard the rules, though, a pedestrian’s life may never be the same again. Ultimately, injured pedestrians may have a civil cause of action against drivers who negligently or intentionally injure them.