Navigating Kentucky on foot helps you minimize your environmental impact and maintain physical fitness. However, research shows that being a pedestrian has also become quite dangerous. Pedestrian fatalities are on the rise across the nation, raising important questions about what is responsible for the uptick and what communities might do to help counter it. 

According to USA Today, pedestrian deaths reached a 28-year high in 2018, increasing 4% over the year prior. In 2018, there were 6,227 pedestrian fatalities across the United States, marking the highest number of them seen since 1990. Nowadays, pedestrian deaths account for about 16% of all road deaths. In 2012, pedestrian deaths comprised about 12% of all traffic fatalities. 

The role of SUVs

What is to blame for the increase in pedestrian death rates across the United States? Many safety advocates believe the increase in popularity of SUVs is at least partly to blame. Why? 

When a small passenger sedan strikes you when you are a pedestrian, it may result in serious leg or other lower-body injuries. When a larger SUV strikes you, though, it has a higher potential of impacting your internal organs or causing significant damage. 

The role of speed and driver distraction

Many believe that the fact that so many drivers drive distracted is also causing an uptick in pedestrian deaths. Speed, too, is a common element in fatality-involved pedestrian accidents. 

In some cases, distracted pedestrians also contribute to these incidents. When walking on or near roadways, be sure to stay alert and avoid using your phone or engaging in any other behavior that takes your attention away from the roadway.