While most of us realize it can be dangerous behind the wheel, apparently it’s getting just as dangerous, if not more, to simply walk down the street. A new report reveals that pedestrian deaths are actually increasing faster than driving fatalities, and many think our cellphones are to blame.
According to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, pedestrian fatalities reached almost 6,000 last year, an increase of about 11%. Several factors are reportedly to blame, like an improved economy, lower gas prices and more walking for exercise and environmental factors, but researchers suggest pedestrian and drivers being distracted by their phones and other devices are likely the biggest cause in the increase.
Although it’s hard to prove the theory, with walking and driving miles increasing only slightly over the year, many believe distractions to be the only true explanation. “It’s the only factor that that seems to indicate a dramatic change in how people behave,” Richard Retting, safety director for Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants and the author of the report, says. “This is the second year in a row that we have seen unprecedented increases in pedestrian fatalities, which is both sad and alarming,”
The research finds that the problem with increased pedestrian deaths is the biggest issue in large states with urban areas, since people do a lot of walking. For example, relative to population, Delaware, Florida and Arizona had the highest rates, while North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming had the lowest.
Source: CBS News