The increasing presence of utility vehicles is only one of the reasons why federal data shows pedestrian fatalities jumped 46 percent from 2009 to 2017 – and while last year’s data has not yet been released it is expected to show another increase. Experts also worry that the situation is compounded by digital distraction. Drivers aren’t the only ones staring at their smartphones. So are many pedestrians who walk into intersections without checking for traffic or even to see if they have the right of way.
“We’ve got distracted drivers and we’ve got distracted pedestrians, and that is a deadly combination,” Rebecca Lindland, an independent auto analyst, noted in a statement following the release of the 2017 pedestrian fatality statistics last May.