Road safety has become a serious issue in the US. Recent data show a rise in the number of Pedestrian deaths in the US in the year 2016. A recent study submitted by the Governors Highway Safety Association underline the smartphone as being the crucial factor that distracts both pedestrians and drivers on the road.

Pedestrian deaths in the US

The GHSA informs that pedestrian fatalities were 11 percent higher in the year 2016 and up 22 percent compared to 2014. Both drivers and pedestrians apparently share the blame in this case. Experts argue that lower gas prices and a healthier economy are pushing more people to buy and drive a car.

On the other hand, they point to the fact that many people are adopting healthier lifestyles, and, therefore, choose to walk outside every day.

Distraction is the common menace, says the study. And the greatest distraction of them all is the smartphone. Many drivers get accustomed to texting or talking on the phone while behind the wheel, and a large number of pedestrians choose to walk outside with their eyes fixed on the smartphones. Also, the use of headphones further isolates many from the dangers or warnings present outside.

Delaware had the "most pedestrian death per capita" in 2016, and, concerning cities, New York City stands out as it does not make the top ten list. This is attributed to the larger crowds of NYC, and, consequently, the slower movement of cars.

How to reduce the number pedestrian deaths?

Engineers have attempted to address the discussed issue by adding speed bumps or roundabouts that can encourage drivers to slow down their vehicles more often. However, experts choose to see pedestrians' ability to disconnect from their smartphones as the most feasible solution. Kara Macek, Senior Director of Communications and Programs for GHSA, points to many people's inability to withdraw from a social media frenzy that ends up contributing to these fatal accidents.

She adds that our willingness to actively participate in a fast paced society further disconnects us, rather than connects us, with everything that surrounds us. The discussed study has found the meaning behind the rising number of pedestrian traffic deaths in the US and looked to encourage change on the road.