Put the Stupid Phone Away! Pedestrian Deaths Rise

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If you like taking an evening stroll, walking your dog, or even hitting the pavement for exercise sake, you could be putting yourself at risk according to a recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association.

The statistics are shocking; the report looked at how many pedestrians were killed by vehicles while walking in 2018, and it was not only a 4 percent increase from 2017, but the highest rate of death since 1990.

Why are these numbers rising? There are a couple of reasons. First, there are more SUVs and trucks on the road, and these vehicles are more likely to kill someone due to the weight and size. In fact, since 2013, the number of pedestrian deaths caused by SUVs has risen by 50 percent. Another reason for this is that people are not paying attention, both behind the wheel and on the pavement. Why? Smartphones. Alcohol was also to blame, as about half of the deaths reported in 2017 was caused by alcohol consumption by either the pedestrian, the driver, or in many cases, both. Of course, there is also the fact that the population has grown, so there are naturally more people out and about on the streets.

Population growth might not seem like a big deal, but the statistics show otherwise. When you look at the states that have had the highest population growth from 2017 to 2018, you also see that there is an increase of the number of deaths from pedestrians getting hit by vehicles. There has also been an increase in the number of people who are walking to work instead of driving when you look at statistics from 2007 to 2016.

The Governors Highway Safety Association also reports another unsurprising fact; the majority of these deaths are occurring after dark, and when comparing the number of pedestrian deaths during the day and at night, the nighttime deaths are rising quickly when compared to daytime deaths. When you look at the number of nighttime deaths between 2008 and 2017, there was an increase of 45 percent. When looking at daytime pedestrian deaths, there is also an 11 percent increase between those same years.

If you are looking for a safe place to walk around, consider New Hampshire. There was only one death in the first half of 2018. On the other end of the spectrum, New Mexico had the highest rate of pedestrian deaths. Almost half of all pedestrian deaths in the United States occurred in Florida, Arizona, Texas, California, and Georgia. None of us should have to worry about crossing the street, and this might be a sign that it’s time to improve vehicle design and improvements to the road.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.


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Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Robert - yes, I seem to be seeing this all the time, people walking ang looking at their phones. 

Jun 20, 2019 05:47 AM #1
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Robert- - -this is definitely an issue that is important and easy-to-solve. The time to act is long overdue.

Jun 20, 2019 10:15 AM #2
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

We've had several instances of pedestrians and people on scooters colliding while staring at their phones. When will people learn?!

Jun 20, 2019 01:09 PM #3
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Robert- This is so timely. I am seeing it more and more on the streets. It used to be bad enough in the malls but at least the damage was only running into another person.  And several weeks ago while on our  morning walk, had I been on my phone, I would have not seen the real snake that was on the walk. 

Jun 20, 2019 07:57 PM #4
Steffy Hristova
HomeSmart Elite Group Tempe AZ Tel: 480-966-9353 - Tempe, AZ
Tempe AZ Realtor - Your Home Close to Your Work!

Robert, I liked the title of your blog - Put the stupid phone away! I think it should be written more often to remind people that they can unglue themselves from the phone.

Jun 21, 2019 06:55 PM #5
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Honolulu is a bad place for pedestrians... a lot of older people get run over there.

Jun 21, 2019 07:47 PM #6
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Robert:

There are certainly plenty of drivers not paying attention, but I see lots of people walking down the sidewalk, crossing the street, and strolling in the middle of the parking lot on their phones and paying no attention to what cars are doing.


Jun 21, 2019 08:06 PM #7
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I don't think vehicle design and road improvements would make any difference at all.

I think your title had it right: Put the phone away and pay attention to what you're doing.

My son and I were just talking about this tonight - texting, reading email, and looking at web pages while driving is more dangerous than driving when you've had a drink or two.

The eyes and the focus need to be on the road - and on anything about to enter the road.

The same goes for walking.

Jun 21, 2019 09:24 PM #8
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

So very scary.  Phone addiction is a real thing, and obvious for those who can't put it down while driving, or walking on the streets.  I fear that some idiot will crash into me or a loved on while distracted...no prevention for that on this end.

Jun 22, 2019 10:58 AM #9
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224


Jun 22, 2019 07:38 PM #10
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Robert Siciliano ,

I'm glad that Kathy Streib featured your post in her "Ah-ha" moments for the week. Phone addition is clearly a problem and I'm amazed at how so many cannot put their phones down and see what is going on around them. I'm with Michael Jacobs it's time to take action.

Jun 23, 2019 06:25 AM #11
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

I really want to say that it's all about kids. But it's not - real grown-ups are doing this and causing havoc as well. I don't see an end in sight, sadly.

Jun 23, 2019 03:00 PM #12
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

I can't believe how many times I see people doing all sorts of things while looking at their phone (walking, driving, talking, whatever). I can definitely understand death rates going up because of it.

Jun 24, 2019 03:53 AM #13
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Congrats on being featured by Kathy this week!  Great post!

Jun 24, 2019 06:49 AM #14
Gloria Todor
Century 21 Absolute Realty - Springfield, PA
& Doug Durren (484) 431-3686 in SE PA

Robert, Looking at phones, ear buds full blast so one cannot hear...total distractions.  And yes addictions.  The numbers will continue to rise unfortunately.

Jun 24, 2019 12:54 PM #15
Monique Ting
INET Realty Honolulu, HI - Honolulu, HI
Your agent under the sun

Hawaii is also seeing a rise in pedestrian fatalities! People need to pay better attention when behind the wheels and also as pedestrians. You should never assume that the other party is alert and aware!

Jun 25, 2019 12:37 PM #16
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