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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.


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.


U.S. Pedestrian deaths worst in 28 years

FOX News

The number of pedestrians killed on U.S. roads last year was the highest in 28 years, an increase due in part to driver and walker distraction, alcohol and drug impairment and more SUVs on the road, a safety organization report says. Using data reported by states for the first half of 2018, the Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that 6,227 pedestrians were killed last year. The association says more people are walking to work and they're more distracted by smartphones. America's massive switch from cars to SUVs and light trucks caused more deaths because the taller SUVs tend to hit pedestrians in the head and upper torso, causing more severe injuries, the report said. "At the same impact speed, a pedestrian is much more likely to die in an SUV crash than in a car crash," said Richard Retting, a consultant and former top traffic safety official with the city of New York who authored the report.


Smartphone use, impairment blamed for rise in pedestrian deaths

FOX News

Pedestrians navigate their way through barricades amid heightened security before the start of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, U.S., Sept. 17, 2017.


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.