Study blames distracted walkers for rise in pedestrian deaths - FOX 8, WVUE,, weather, app, news, saints

Study blames distracted walkers for rise in pedestrian deaths

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Not paying attention while on your cell phone could be deadly - and not just behind the wheel

According to a study from the Governors Highway Safety Association, pedestrian deaths jumped ten percent in 2015 compared to 2014. The study blames distracted walkers for the increase. 

"They become oblivious with their surroundings and lose touch with what's happening," New Orleans tourist Bob Quinn said. 

"They don't even look. Their heads are down. It's all about the phone these days," native Darryl Boaner said. "It's easy to get distracted with them. Once you start, it's like you are on it. It's like they took everything away. It's just you and the phone."

In 2014, Louisiana ranked fifth in the number of pedestrian fatalities per capita. State Trooper Melissa Matey said a majority of pedestrian traffic deaths turn out to be the pedestrian's fault. 

"We do see typically that pedestrians will cross the highway in the path of the vehicle. If that vehicle does not have a stop sign or a light or any other signal that is directing them, then when that pedestrian crosses in front of the vehicle, it's the pedestrians fault at that point," Matey said. 

She urges pedestrians to beware of all their surroundings, use crosswalks and be on the lookout for distracted drivers. 

"They should be on sidewalks or they should be walking against the flow of traffic," Matey said. "Pedestrians on the interstate is completely illegal. We do not allow any pedestrians or bicyclists on interstate systems."

For the first time in 25 years, pedestrian deaths now account for 15 percent of all traffic fatalities. 

"They seem to pay no mind to red light, green light, walk signals or not. They're so engrossed in what they're doing," tourist Lorraine Quarles said 

The study also shows 34 percent of pedestrians killed have a blood alcohol level above the legal limit, compared to 15 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes above the limit. 

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