In 2016, the number of fatal pedestrian accidents is estimated at more than 6,000. That is the highest figure in more than 20 years, and is the largest year-over-year increase in at least 40 years. The sharp increase in collisions involving pedestrians is part of a larger trend. While recent years have been bad for deadly car accidents, pedestrian deaths are growing even faster. From 2010 to now, the pedestrian death rate has increased four times faster than the vehicle fatality rate.
The question for many safety experts is what has caused the change in pedestrian safety. Some issues tied to pedestrian accidents are well-established and not prone to fluctuation. Drunk driving accidents involving pedestrians happen regularly, but there is no evidence that this behavior is on the rise. Speeding and aggressive driving are common issues in pedestrian fatalities, but these, too, have remained relatively static in recent years. Many believe that the increase in pedestrian deaths is tied to the use of smartphones, which has undeniably increased over recent years.