Death by smartphone - pedestrian mortality hits 30-year high

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It's not just distracted driving behind smartphone usage incidents but pedestrians are getting mowed down at a record rate thanks partially at distracted walking, too. The overuse of handsets around traffic, paired with the rapid increase in SUV sales have raised pedestrian mortality to levels not seen since 1990, a new report says.

Last year, a heartbreaking number of 6,227 people died in traffic accidents while walking, a 30-year high. The worrying part of that statistic is that pedestrian deaths rose much quicker than all other traffic-related ones in the past decade and now account for the whopping 16% of vehicular crash deaths. "We’re killing way too many pedestrians. This has got to be a high priority," sounded the alarm Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the nonprofit Governors Highway Safety Association.

It wasn't like that up until about 2009 or exactly the time iOS and Android started to take over from feature phones. Add to this the financial crisis ease that allowed Americans to hop behind the wheel of a big gas-guzzler again, and the troubles began. Fatal collisions involving pedestrians were 45% higher in 2017 than they were in 2009. 

Some of the measures that are recommended in the report are improving lighting at the places with a lot of accidents and red signal activators at midblock crosswalks. Nothing beats raising your eyes from the smartphone and using them to scan your surroundings, though, both for drivers and foot soldiers.

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