Report shows San Diego County among nation's worst for pedestrian deaths

SAN DIEGO (KGTV/NEWSY) - A new report shows San Diego County is among the worst areas in the country when it comes to pedestrian deaths.

The Governors Highway Safety Association report ranks California tenth in the nation with 2.43 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 people.

Among specific counties, San Diego County is 7th in the country behind Cook (Illinois), Miami-Dade (Florida), Dallas (Texas), Harris (Texas), Maricopa (Arizona) and Los Angeles.

The city of San Diego saw a nearly 45 percent increase in pedestrian deaths from 2015 (29 deaths) to 2016 (42).

The GHSA report says nearly 6,000 pedestrians died in motor vehicle-related crashes in 2017 - a number that was not that much different than 2016 stats.

In fact, the GHSA says it's been more than 25 years since the U.S. has seen this many pedestrian traffic fatalities.

The reasons behind this recent rise haven't been definitively proven, but experts believe smartphones and marijuana use are contributing factors.

As the GHSA said in a press release, "It is widely accepted both smartphones and marijuana can impair the attention and judgment necessary to navigate roadways safely behind the wheel and on foot."

The report shows states that legalized marijuana between 2012-2016 (Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia) "reported a collective 16.4 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities for the first six months of 2017 versus the first six months of 2016, whereas all other states reported a collective 5.8 percent decrease in pedestrian fatalities."

Overall, pedestrians accounted for 16 percent of motor vehicle deaths in 2016, compared to 11 percent in 2007.

California is looking to make streets safer by installing more roundabouts that allow pedestrians to cross one direction of traffic at a time. The state is also conducting research in hopes of improving overall traffic safety.

The report is based on preliminary data gathered from the first half of 2017. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will release the official numbers later this year.

Click here to read the GHSA's complete report

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