The number of pedestrians killed on U.S. roads last year was the highest in 28 years, according to a report from a safety organization.
Using data reported by states, the Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that 6,227 pedestrians were killed last year. That’s up 4 percent from 2017 and 35 percent since 2008.
The association blames the increase on factors that include distracted or impaired drivers, more people walking to work, and more SUVs on the road, which cause more severe injuries in collisions with people on foot.
It also says most deaths happen on local roads at night and away from intersections, and it called for safer road crossings. Night crashes accounted for more than 90 percent of the increased deaths over the past decade.
“While we have made progress reducing fatalities among many other road users in the past decade, pedestrian deaths have risen 35 percent,” Jonathan Adkins, the association’s executive director, said in a statement issued Thursday. “The alarm bells continue to sound on this issue.”
The report also called for law enforcement and safety education campaigns to make sure drivers and walkers can safely coexist, as well as for road safety audits.
It said that 23 states saw declines in pedestrian deaths during the first half of last year, with six states reporting double-digit drops.