Pedestrians were less safe for car accidents in 2016 than in previous years, according to a new study. Reviewing data collected in the first half of last year, the report says that pedestrian fatalities have increased at four times the rate of traffic deaths this decade (and traffic deaths are on the rise too).

Overall, the report by the Governors Highway Safety Association says about 6,000 pedestrians died last year from accidents. It's a startling increase, and last year was the highest jump since they began keeping records 40 years ago.

Unsafe habits create problems

The study estimates its figures based on the first half of 2016, with a complete report expected later in the year. However, the numbers show a growing problem where motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists are in danger.

There is no conclusive evidence to the cause of the higher numbers, but drivers and pedestrians alike engage in many risky behaviors that are magnified near traffic, such as use of intoxicating substances and the overuse of mobile devices. The report's author notes the increase of Smartphones and other technology, which people use on the go, often ignoring their surroundings and putting themselves and others at greater risk.

Creating safer sidewalks and roadways

There has also been a rise in traffic fatalities in recent years, which counters a recent initiative by the US government to reduce and, ultimately, eliminate vehicle-related deaths. The key to safe transit, whether on foot or behind a steering wheel, is to pay attention to the details around you.

Distractions are plentiful -- and are not limited to technology. Eating, drinking coffee, talking to passengers and enjoying the scenery can also pull attention away from the road. With an indisputable increase in deadly accidents, all drivers need to be aware of the consequences of their actions and focus on making the roads safer for everyone.

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