MINNEAPOLIS – Pedestrian deaths spiked to a 25-year high in Minnesota in 2016, illustrating what's been a grim upward trend across the country in recent years.
Experts tie it to more people driving and to more distractions such as smartphones that draw the attention of drivers and pedestrians away from the road.
Traffic deaths of all kinds have been rising nationally since 2009, but pedestrian deaths have been rising faster. They've made up a growing share of all traffic deaths. According to the National Safety Council, they've risen from over 4,100 in 2009, when they were 12 percent of all traffic deaths, to nearly 5,400 in 2015, when they were 15 percent of the total. In California and New York state, pedestrian deaths make up about one-fourth of the total.