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Why are pedestrian fatalities on the rise?

A newly released study revealed a harrowing statistic: Pedestrian fatalities have hit a 28-year high. Pedestrian deaths rose 4 percent from 2017 to 2018, with a total of 6,227 people killed last year, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association report.

Nearly half of all pedestrian deaths in 2018 came from just five states: California, Arizona, Texas, Georgia and Florida. Nine hundred pedestrians fatalities occurred in California alone. There are many issues causing the rise in deaths, but, more importantly, states like California are taking steps to fix it.

Reasons for increase

While the number of motor-vehicle deaths has stayed steady, there are many reasons that pedestrian deaths are on the rise. Contributing factors include:

  • More SUVs: There are more SUVs on the road than ever before. Pedestrian fatalities involving SUVs were up 50 percent between 2013 and 2017. Pedestrians are less likely to survive a collision with a larger vehicle.
  • Added distractions: As smartphone usage rises, so do the distractions they present. Cellular data usage has jumped 4,000 percent since 2008. Both distracted drivers and distracted pedestrians contribute to more accident.
  • More pedestrians: In an age of eco-consciousness, more people are walking and using mass transit than in years prior. With more people on the streets there are more chances for accidents.

Making changes

States are taking notice and are becoming proactive on pedestrian safety. California is one of the states that’s leading the pack in pedestrian safety measures. This includes safety presentations in classrooms and community groups, enforcement of traffic rules at crosswalks, education efforts teaching pedestrians own to use new infrastructure and other community outreach events.

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