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Study: Since Invention Of Smartphone, More Pedestrians Being Killed By Cars

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- There are lives shattered on both sides of a fatal pedestrian accident.

There is grief for the lives lost, and for the driver forever scared.

The Governors Highway Safety Association report estimates 6,590 people died in pedestrian accidents in 2019.

That is 300 more than 2018, and the most since 1988.

"That's a big increase," said Jim Clair, who owns Ultimate Defensive Driving.

The GHSA said over the last 10 years, pedestrian deaths are up 53% and Clair points out, "Most of this stuff started happening in 2009, about the time smartphones came about."

Clair said in addition to drivers being distracted behind the wheel, there are "distracted pedestrians as well, too. We have distracted pedestrians walking around on the streets walking and texting."

New Law Seeks to Crack Down on Distracted New York Drivers
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 30: A driver uses a phone while behind the wheel of a car on April 30, 2016 in New York City. As accidents involving drivers using phones or other personal devices mount across the country, New York lawmakers have proposed a new test called the Textalyzer to help curb mobile phone usage behind the wheel. Similar to a Breathalyzer test, the Textalyzer would allow police to request phones from drivers involved in accidents and then determine if the phone had been used while the drivers operated their vehicles. The controversial bill is currently in the early committee stage. According to statistics, In 2014 431,000 people were injured and 3,179 were killed in car accidents involving distracted drivers. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The GHSA report said 76 percent of the deaths occur at night and at locations away from intersections.

And Clair points out there is the alcohol factor.

"About 33% of those pedestrians who were killed were drunk as well too," Clair said.

The increase in deaths also coincides with the rise in popularity of SUVs.

Clair said for good reason because an SUV, "Sits up a lot higher so you're going to hit that pedestrian midgut rather than rolling up on top of the hood like that."

Clair said it is up to drivers to be conscious of pedestrians, whatever they may be doing.

"As the driver, you have to be in control of that vehicle at all times and hitting a pedestrian is one of the worst things you can ever do," Clair said.

The Journal of Transport & Health also came out with a study of pedestrian crossings, which has some interesting results.

Only about one-third of drivers actually yield to pedestrians, and women are more likely to give pedestrians a break than men or young drivers.

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