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Pedestrian deaths show the largest increase in history

The statistics for 2016 are out, and they paint a bleak picture when looking at fatal pedestrian accidents. Those deadly crashes saw the biggest jump ever recorded in the United States, going up 11 percent from 2015 to 2016. Nearly 6,000 people were killed, according to the study.

It is worth noting that total traffic deaths also increased in 2016, per the National Safety Council (NSC). They reported a 6 percent jump across the country. So, the fatal pedestrian accidents are just in keeping with the national overall trends. That said, pedestrian deaths did increase by nearly twice as much, which is telling.

There are a few reasons for the surge. One expert pointed out that the economy grew stronger in 2016, while gas prices stayed low. That means more people took to the roads more often, rather than staying home or riding the bus to conserve fuel. More traffic naturally means an increase in accidents and fatalities.

Experts also pointed to distractions, though, saying they're worse than they've ever been. Specifically, they said that cellphones and other electronic devices are a huge issue. This is true both for drivers and for pedestrians. Some people who are crossing the road, for instance, are looking down at their phones and may not see traffic around them as well as they should, considering the ramifications.

Of course, those who are legally crossing the street or walking near it don't have an obligation to stare down traffic and watch for negligent drivers. When a pedestrian who is legally in a crosswalk is hit and injured, it's not his or her fault just because of a cellphone. Those who are hurt must know their legal rights as the stats grow worse.

Source: NPR, "Distraction, On Street And Sidewalk, Helps Cause Record Pedestrian Deaths," David Schaper, accessed Nov. 08, 2017

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