New Yorkers, watch where you’re walking, as drivers might not be: recent statistics reveal that pedestrian deaths reach an all-time high in New York. These horrific accidents are concerning and affect both rural and urban locations. Rather than at an intersection, though, these kinds of accidents take place more frequently in areas that are non-intersections.

Fox News found that the rate of pedestrian fatalities reached a tragically record-breaking high in 2018. The data for the first half of 2018 helped the Governor’s Highway Safety Association determine that 6,227 pedestrian fatalities occurred during the course of the whole year. The rates have increased by 4% from the previous year and went up by 35% since 2008.

There are many explanations behind the increase, according to the safety association. An increased number of people walk as a means of getting to work now. Other factors in pedestrian accidents include the increase of SUVs on the road, the prevalence of cell phone use, and the time of day.

More SUVs Creates More Damage in Accidents

The increased number of SUVs out and about majorly contributes to traffic, and not always in a good way. Richard Retting, the previous Top Safety Official for NYC, wrote the agency’s release. He stated that a pedestrian has a much higher chance of passing away in an SUV accident than a car collision, even when traveling at the same speed.

He continued to explain that the likelihood of fatality increases significantly for someone who is hit by an SUV, even when vehicles driving as slow as 20-25 mph. From 2013 to 2017, the rate of pedestrian fatalities went up by 50% when an SUV was involved. However, the number of individuals killed by sedans was still higher than deaths by SUV.

Cell Phone Use

Cell phone usage is likely another contributing factor. Pedestrian fatalities were decreasing until 2009 when cell phones were being sold more. There is still much more research that needs to be done on this topic, but it’s more than likely a cause.

Individuals who text and walk at the same time could run into trouble, especially when out in public. It causes people to be far less alert than they would be if they weren’t staring at their phones.

Many examples show how dangerous this can be. In Philadelphia, one individual was texting on his cell phone and fell, and he accidentally landed on nearby train tracks. Fortunately, in this situation, the person was able to get out of harm’s way and live. Many similar situations happen far too often, and it has become a fatal problem.

Time of Day

The time of day and the amount of daylight left is also a factor in accidents. Most pedestrian crashes take place at night when it’s harder to see. Low light plays a significant role in the rate of how fast people can process targets, and this is why low contrast objects (like people walking in the dark) take much longer to see and react to. Researchers in the UK tested this notion and found that conditions with low visibility caused drivers to have significantly longer reaction times than regular conditions allow for.

In short, the rate of pedestrian fatalities has increased in New York, but pedestrians in all locations should be cautious. Since there are more large vehicles on the road and many people use cell phones even in traffic, it’s important to remain watchful. Walking during the day is best, and safety gear can be useful for those who have to be out before or after the sun.