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Pedestrian deaths spiked in 2016. Distraction is partly to blame, early data shows

PBS NewsHour

Pedestrians walk over a crosswalk in Cambridge, Massachusetts. WASHINGTON -- Pedestrian deaths are climbing faster than motorist fatalities, reaching nearly 6,000 deaths last year -- the highest total in more than two decades, according to an analysis of preliminary state data released Thursday. Increased driving due to an improved economy, lower gas prices and more walking for exercise and environmental factors are some of the likely reasons behind the estimated 11 percent spike in pedestrian fatalities in 2016. The figures were prepared for the Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety offices. But researchers say they think the biggest factor may be more drivers and walkers distracted by cellphones and other electronic devices, although that's hard to confirm.


As Pedestrian Deaths Spike, Scientists Scramble for Answers

WIRED

On Monday, the nascent self-driving vehicle sector reached an unfortunate milestone when, for the first time, a self-driving car killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. This also means robot drivers are becoming more like their human predecessors--who kill thousands of pedestrians every year. And that number has risen dramatically in the past several years. In 2016, cars hit and killed nearly 6,000 pedestrians. The Great Recession explains some of the fluctuation.


U.S. pedestrian deaths spiked 11% in 2016; distraction, alcohol cited

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – Pedestrian deaths are climbing faster than motorist fatalities, reaching nearly 6,000 deaths last year -- the highest total in more than two decades, according to an analysis of preliminary state data released Thursday. Increased driving due to an improved economy, lower gas prices and more walking for exercise and environmental factors are some of the likely reasons behind the estimated 11 percent spike in pedestrian fatalities in 2016. The figures were prepared for the Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety offices. But researchers say they think the biggest factor may be more drivers and walkers distracted by cellphones and other electronic devices, although that's hard to confirm. Walking and miles driven are up only a few percentage points, and are unlikely to account for most of the surge in pedestrian deaths, said Richard Retting, safety director for Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants and the author of the report.


Highway deaths are down, but pedestrian fatalities rose in 2018

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines for Oct. 23 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com Traffic deaths in the U.S. fell slightly in 2018 for the second straight year, the government's road safety agency said Tuesday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration attributed the 2.4% drop partially to technology in newer vehicles that can prevent crashes. A total of 36,560 people died on the nation's roads in last year, the latest full-year statistics available.


Collision course: pedestrian deaths are rising – and driverless cars aren't likely to change that

The Guardian

In 2010, the small community of specialists who pay attention to US road safety statistics picked up the first signs of a troubling trend: more and more pedestrians were being killed on American roads. That year, 4,302 American pedestrians died, an increase of almost 5% from 2009. The tally has increased almost every year since, with particularly sharp spikes in 2015 and 2016. Last year, 41% more US pedestrians were killed than in 2008. During this same period, overall non-pedestrian road fatalities moved in the opposite direction, decreasing by more than 7%. For drivers, roads are as safe as they have ever been; for people on foot, roads keep getting deadlier. Through the 90s and 00s, the pedestrian death count had declined almost every year. No one would have confused the US for a walkers' paradise – at least part of the reason fewer pedestrians died in this period was that people were driving more and walking less, which meant that there were fewer opportunities to be struck. But at least the death toll was shrinking. The fact that, globally, pedestrian fatalities were much more common in poorer countries made it possible to view pedestrian death as part of an unfortunate, but temporary, stage of development: growing pains on the road to modernity, destined to decrease eventually as a matter of course.