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."
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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