Report: 'Unprecedented increases' in US pedestrian fatalities this year

Officials are sounding the alarm about the surging number of pedestrian fatalities recorded in the U.S.

A press release on Thursday states, "The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) projects an 11 percent increase in the number of persons on foot killed on U.S. roadways last year, compared to 2015."

The release adds, "This would represent the steepest year-to-year increase since record-keeping began, both in terms of number of deaths and percent increase."

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10. Vermont

Capital: Montpelier

Population: 0.63 million

Median income: $28,825

GDP: $30,401 million

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9. Colorado

Capital: Denver

Population: 5.46 million

Median income: $31,664

GDP: $314,878 million

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8. Maryland

Capital: Annapolis

Population: 6.01 million

Median income: $36,316

GDP: $363,845

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7. Utah

Capital: Salt Lake City

Population: 3.00 million

Median income: $27,136

GDP: $147,108 million

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6. Iowa

Capital: Des Moines

Population: 3.12 million

Median income: $28,771

GDP: $174,103 million

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4. North Dakota

Capital: Bismarck

Population: 0.76 million

Median income: $31,782

GDP: $54,830 million

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3. Minnesota

Capital: Saint Paul

Population: 5.49 million

Median income: $31,841

GDP: $333,267

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2. New Hampshire

Capital: Concord

Population: 1.33 million

Median income: $32,243

GDP: $72,573 million

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1. Massachusetts

Capital: Boston

Population: 6.79 million

Median income: $32,352

GDP: $476,743 million

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The group's estimate was based on 2,660 pedestrian fatalities reported by states in the first half of 2016 versus 2,486 deaths during the same period in 2015, along with adjustments for underreporting and prior trends.

It also notes that about 15 percent of vehicle deaths involve pedestrians.

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The GHSA has attributed the possible causes to an increase in driving due, in part, to low gas prices, more pedestrian activity, and rising smartphone use which the group calls "a frequent source of mental and visual distraction for both walkers and drivers."

Richard Retting, who authored the report, told the Washington Post, "This is the second year in a row that we've seen unprecedented increases in pedestrian fatalities, which is both sad and alarming."

He is hoping the findings can help officials identify ways to "reverse the trend."

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