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U.S. pedestrian deaths hit 28-year high

Walking is good for you. It’s good exercise, a chance to get outdoors and it’s environmentally friendly. But, increasingly, walking is dangerous.

A February report by the Governor’s Highway Association found that an estimated 6,227 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2018. This marks the highest number of deaths since 1990.

Deaths on the rise

Pedestrian deaths rose more than 4 percent from 2017 to 2018. And they’re up 34 percent from 2009, now accounting for 16 percent of traffic fatalities.

Almost half of all pedestrian deaths happened in five states: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia and Texas. California had the most pedestrian deaths overall, and New Mexico had the most per capita.

On a positive note, pedestrian deaths in the nation’s 10 largest cities declined 15 percent from 2017. The decline was most drastic in New York City which implements its own pedestrian safety initiative.

What’s behind the numbers?

Some social trends explain why pedestrian deaths are rising. The report blames the increased number on several factors:

  • More SUVs and trucks on the road make accidents deadlier
  • Population growth leads to more pedestrians
  • Drivers are more distracted, especially by smartphones

Stay safe

As a pedestrian, it’s important to stay safe. Experts recommend the following tips:

  • Wear clothing that makes you visible to drivers
  • Follow road rules by using sidewalks and crosswalks
  • Avoid distractions such as headphones and electronic devices
  • Avoid alcohol when you’re planning to walk

Even with these tips, accidents can happen to anyone. If you are hit and injured by a vehicle while walking, you may want to seek legal representation to determine if you’re owed compensation for your injuries.

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