Pedestrian deaths on roadways across the country have increased nearly 50 percent since hitting a low point roughly nine years ago, according to a new study.
Most of the the pedestrian fatalities usually happened at night, involved an SUV or high-horsepower car, and occurred away from intersections or on busy roads that feed vehicles onto freeways, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The IIHS found that 5,987 pedestrians were killed in 2016. Annual pedestrian deaths have actually dropped 20 percent since 1975, but the amount of pedestrians killed in 2016 was the highest amount since 1990.
Those behind the study suggest that cities and counties improve lighting for pedestrians, add more crossing islands and create more crosswalks in order to reduce pedestrian fatalities.
To avoid being struck, pedestrians are encouraged to not wear dark clothing at night. They could also consider wearing reflective material during the nighttime hours.
The IIHS acknowledges that drivers distracted by phones have played a role in pedestrian deaths, but there is not enough data just yet to determine how much impact those devices have had.