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Pedestrian fatalities spike in 2016

For 2016, about 6,000 pedestrians died around the country. Besides lower gas prices, a healthy economy and more people walking outside for exercise, observers believe that distracted driving may be the leading reason behind these deaths, which spiked about 11 percent from the prior year. According to data from the Governors Highway Safety Association, there has not been this many pedestrian fatalities since the 1990s. The spike may be due to both drivers and pedestrians in Michigan and elsewhere paying more attention to their smartphones and other wireless electronic devices.

Alcohol is a further factor contributing to pedestrian fatalities. According to the National Safety Council, 15 percent of drivers and 34 percent of pedestrians involved in deadly accidents were drunk when the incident occurred.

The safety organization also found that more than 40,000 traffic fatalities occurred in 2016, which was just below the amount of traffic-related deaths right before the economic crisis in 2007. However, quickly outnumbering the overall amount of fatalities are pedestrian fatalities, which rose 25 percent from 2010 to 2015. Distracted driving not only affect drivers, but it also affects pedestrians who need to be alert as they walk along busy roadways. In fact, pedestrian deaths are higher in large population states where walking is a popular activity in urban areas. The states with the highest pedestrian fatality rates were Arizona, Florida and Delaware, and the ones with the lowest were Wyoming, South Dakota and North Dakota.

Auto-pedestrian accidents caused by negligent drivers who were texting or talking on a cell phone at the time could be held liable for damages through a personal injury lawsuit. An attorney could help the victims pursue compensation for their losses that typically include medical expenses and lost wages.

.Source: CBS News, "Pedestrian deaths on U.S. roads spiking; cellphones eyed", March 30, 2017

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