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Transportation Researchers: Distraction to Blame for Pedestrian Fatalities

March 12, 2019

UNITED STATES – Many transportation researchers believe that distraction is to blame for an increase in pedestrian fatalities in the United States, according to an online news report from This specifically includes distraction from cell phone use, both on the part of drivers and pedestrians.

Paul Snyder, chair of transportation design at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan, says that distraction is to blame before vehicles are to blame. He shares his analysis in the wake of a report from the U.S. Governors Highway Safety Association that states pedestrian road deaths are nearing a 30-year peak, and trucks and SUVs might be part of the problem.

“I think the answer to it is really social patterns, you know, having very little to do with cars,” Snyder said. 

Pedestrian deaths due to traffic collisions have increased by 46 percent in less than 10 years. Many transportation researchers and safety experts, including Snyder, believe that drivers and walkers distracted by phones and various other things are causing the rising numbers of pedestrian deaths.

While trucks and SUVs have increased in popularity through time, auto manufacturers have made some changes to try to prevent serious injury or death in the event of a pedestrian accident. Many manufacturers have added space under the hood and lowered the bumper on their SUVs and trucks. These changes are attempts to lessen the impact and change the area of the body on which a pedestrian could be struck. 

However, more than use of these vehicles, cell phone use has increased by an astonishing amount. The Governors Highway Safety Association stated in its report that cell phone ownership rose by more than 230 percent from 2010 to 2016. 

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Category: Personal Injury

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