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Pedestrian deaths increase nationwide

Pedestrian deaths are on the rise across the nation, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, and California had more than any other state in the nation. A report by the Governors Highway Safety Association showed 2016 had an increase of 11 percent in pedestrian deaths nationwide compared to 2015, which puts these fatalities at an all-time high.

There was a 25 percent spike in pedestrian deaths across the country between 2010 to 2015, and distracted driving and walking takes much of the blame. Increased use of cell phones and other wireless devices for both drivers and pedestrians is considered the “major societal change” that has fueled the large uptick in pedestrian fatalities. Other factors include the healthy economy and low price of gas, which has increased travel and vacations, getting more people on the road as both drivers and pedestrians.

The report suggested adding more pedestrian crosswalks, street lighting and pedestrian overpasses to improve safety outcomes. Slowing down speeding drivers is another factor that helps keep pedestrians safe, so speedbumps and the use of traffic circles in place of traffic lights and stop signs could also help.

Safety measures for drivers can only go so far to curb these fatalities. The Los Angeles Daily News reports that of those who were killed while walking, one third of those victims were legally drunk at the time they were hit. Jaywalking and crossing between intersections accounted for almost three quarters of the fatalities.

Although California had the most deaths overall, this is largely due to the size of the state. California actually saw a decrease in pedestrian deaths, which fell by 11 percent.

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