The roads in the U.S. are becoming more dangerous for pedestrians, according to recent data provided by a non-profit organization that targets traffic safety. Wisconsin residents may be shocked to learn that 6,227 people died while traveling on foot in 2018.

The Governors Highway Safety Association, which has members in all 50 states, publishes data on traffic safety annually. The report for 2018 that was recently released shows major areas of concern. Pedestrian fatalities now comprise over 15 percent of all traffic fatalities. The death rate is the highest in 28 years.

Some figures in the report stick out immediately. More than 50 percent of death rates were at night. Alcohol was present in the system of either the driver or pedestrian in half of the fatal collisions. States with the highest population increases saw increases in fatalities.

The GHSA mentioned two major factors for the higher death rate. First, the use of smartphones in vehicles and among those walking has risen dramatically over the past 10 years. This has lead to increased instances of distracted driving as well as distracted walking. However, the group admitted it did not have hard evidence to assert smartphone use as a direct cause.

Second, the group cited statistics regarding the increased deaths due to SUVs, which are large vehicles more likely to cause fatal blows. While smaller passenger cars still account for most of the fatalities, the number of SUV’s on the road has increased. It’s also worth noting that nearly half of all states showed a decrease in pedestrian deaths.

Being struck by a vehicle weighing several tons can cause severe injuries to a pedestrian, even death. Damages due to medical bills, missed wages, permanent scarring and other losses may only be replaced by legal action. Meeting with a personal injury attorney is the first step toward righting the wrong caused by a negligent driver.