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I-84 Highway crashes in and around Hartford Connecticut

Posted by Paul Levin | Feb 25, 2024 | 0 Comments

The Hartford Courant ran a feature story in Sunday's paper focusing on Interstate 84 and the spate of recent crashes, some fatal.

Connecticut state police say they see “a wide variety of reasons” for motor vehicle crashes, as does the state Department of Transportation — and it's not just speeding — and state lawmakers have pushed measures on wrong-way driving and work zone safety  and blood alcohol level

The map which was published showing nearly 10 years of fatal crashes on Interstate 84, was telling as was the details of some of the more serious accidents'

"  On Feb. 15, a Nissan traveling eastbound in the center lane in Southington veered into the left lane, hitting a BMW SUV, rolling over into the shoulder and hitting a bridge abutment. The driver of the SUV suffered serious injuries. The Nissan driver was not seriously hurt.


There was a wrong-way crash in Waterbury on Feb. 11, in which a Danbury woman died. The driver, who suffered life-threatening injuries, was heading west in the eastbound lanes in Danbury. He collided with another car before hitting a Chevy Tahoe head-on. The other drivers suffered minor injuries.

Another wrong-way crash on Feb. 10 in Manchester killed two Hartford women traveling west in the eastbound lane.

Also in Manchester, on Feb. 8, a driver veered out of the high-occupancy vehicle lane, hit a Hyundai, continued off the side of the road, came back across the highway and hit the median, killing the passenger, a 26-year-old from East Hartford.

Going back a few months, yet another wrong-way crash occurred Oct. 15 when a Middletown driver lost control of his Subaru Outback heading westbound in Farmington, crossed the median and headed eastbound. The Subaru hit three other cars. Four people, including a 4-year-old, ended up going to the hospital. There were no serious injuries. "

“There's some higher-profile crashes there — the tractor-trailer tipped over carrying all those eggs,” said Josh Morgan, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.

That happened in Plainville on Feb. 8 and closed the highway for several hours.

“There was the wrong-way driver there a few weeks ago, but sadly, it's what's happening on all the interstates, because it's really attributed to drivers,” Morgan said. “Is there something happening on 84? There is, just like 95 or 91 or ‘insert road name here.' It's just that cars are driving way too fast.

The incidents mentioned range from rollovers to head-on collisions, resulting in injuries and fatalities.Driver negligence appears to be a significant factor in these accidents, with instances of speeding, distraction (such as mobile phone use), and impairment mentioned repeatedly. The article also notes that the COVID-19 pandemic may have exacerbated the issue of speeding on highways, with drivers exceeding speed limits by significant margins.

State authorities, including the Department of Transportation and state lawmakers, acknowledge the challenge of addressing highway safety issues effectively. Efforts such as measures to prevent wrong-way driving, including the installation of flashing "wrong way" signs, have been successful to some extent. However, proposals like lowering the maximum blood alcohol level for driving have faced challenges in passing through the General Assembly.

State Senator Christine Cohen emphasized the importance of addressing highway safety comprehensively and mentions ongoing efforts by the Transportation Committee to tackle the issue. Despite legislative efforts and measures to improve road safety, the article underscores the persistent challenge posed by driver negligence and its contribution to serious and fatal highway accidents.

Analyzing the ways in which driver negligence and highway conditions intersect to cause accidents, we can identify several key points:

  1. Speeding: The article highlights speeding as a major issue, with drivers often exceeding speed limits by significant margins. High speeds reduce reaction times and increase the severity of accidents, making it more likely for crashes to result in serious injuries or fatalities.

  2. Distractions: Distractions such as mobile phone use while driving are mentioned as contributing factors to accidents. Cognitive distractions divert attention from the road, impairing a driver's ability to react to changing conditions or hazards.

  3. Impairment: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs significantly impairs judgment, coordination, and reaction times, increasing the likelihood of accidents. Lowering the legal blood alcohol level for driving could potentially reduce the incidence of impaired driving-related accidents.

  4. Wrong-way driving: Instances of wrong-way driving, where vehicles travel in the opposite direction of traffic flow, have resulted in deadly collisions. Measures such as installing warning signs aim to prevent such incidents, but more comprehensive strategies may be necessary to address the root causes of wrong-way driving.

  5. Infrastructure and road design: While the focus is primarily on driver behavior, the article briefly mentions the role of infrastructure in accidents, such as the closure of Interstate 84 due to a tipped-over tractor-trailer. Improving road design, signage, and traffic management systems could help mitigate some risks associated with highway driving.

In summary, addressing the complex interplay between driver negligence and highway conditions requires a multifaceted approach, including legislative measures, enforcement of traffic laws, public education campaigns, and infrastructure improvements. By targeting these factors comprehensively, policymakers and transportation authorities can work towards reducing the incidence of serious and fatal highway accidents.


About the Author

Paul Levin

Attorney Levin was admitted to practice law in the State of Connecticut beginning 1989 and in New York Federal district court beginning 1992. He is a member of the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association, Connecticut Bar Association, and the National Association for American Justice. Prior to establishing his own law firm, Attorney Levin was associated with the...


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