Pedestrian deaths continue to spike nationally

Cell phones marijuana blamed for increase in pedestrian deaths

Pedestrian deaths continue to spike nationally

The total is unchanged essentially from the previous year, but as the report notes, "It has been more than 25 years since the US experienced this level of pedestrian fatalities".

A correlation between marijuana and pedestrian deaths was not proven in the report, so it's still not clear if the rise could be attributed to other factors.

Combine that with drivers who are using their phones or touchscreens while driving, and it's a recipe for fatalities. In addition, driving while taking drugs and walking, these reasons are growing contributor.

That would reflect essentially no change after a 9% increase in 2016 and a 9.5% increase in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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The "Governor's Highway Safety Association" report was just released.

The spike in pedestrian deaths comes despite improvements in vehicle safety, including the relatively recent introduction of automatic emergency braking systems, rearview cameras and collision alert technology. The GHSA says it's been more than 25 years since the US has seen this many pedestrian traffic fatalities.

But other potentially helpful developments fall back. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has flagged poor headlights as especially problematic. Poor design and failure to adopt lights that swivel with the curvature of the road are hurting.

About 75% of pedestrian fatalities occur at night, making road illumination critical, Retting said.

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But pedestrians are sometimes to blame, as well.

As the GHSA said in a press release, "It is widely accepted both smartphones and marijuana can impair the attention and judgment necessary to navigate roadways safely behind the wheel and on foot".

The seven states, and Washington D.C., that legalized the recreational use of marijuana between 2012 and 2016 reported a collective 16.4 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities for the first six months of 2017 versus the first half of the previous year, according to the data.

The GHSA estimates are based on an analysis of figures for the first half of 2017.

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All other states experienced a collective 5.8 percent decrease.

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