Pedestrian deaths spiked in 2016, distraction cited - WNEM TV 5

Pedestrian deaths spiked in 2016, distraction cited

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An analysis of preliminary state data shows pedestrian deaths are climbing faster than motorist fatalities, reaching nearly 6,000 deaths last year -- the highest total in more than two decades.

A report prepared for the Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety offices, says increased driving due to an improved economy and lower gas prices and more walking for exercise and environmental reasons are some likely reasons behind the estimated 11 percent spike in pedestrian fatalities in 2016.

But researchers say the biggest factor may be more drivers and walkers distracted by cellphones and other devices, although that's hard to confirm.

Richard Retting, the report's author, says walking and miles driven are up only a few percentage points, but texting and use of wireless devices have exploded.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

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