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PEMCO Insurance experts talk about pedestrian safety

Walking or crossing the street is becoming more dangerous.

Q13 talked to the experts at PEMCO Insurance about the increase of accidents involving pedestrians.

“Since 2010 to 2015, pedestrian fatalities have increased by 25 percent,” said Kristine Zewe, the Underwriting Quality Analyst at PEMCO Insurance. “2016 saw another 9 percent increase and that number has been holding steady, but what that translates to is nearly 6,000 pedestrians are dying annually in the United States.”

Researchers are not exactly sure why there has been an increase, but they’ve narrowed it down to three factors: busier streets, more walking for health and environmental reasons and smartphones are distracting both drivers and pedestrians.

Here are some things you can do to stay safe while you are out on the street.

  • Put your phone away when crossing the street
  • Take you earphones off
  • Make eye contact with drivers
  • Watch for turning cars
  • Wear bright clothing, especially at night
  • If you’ve been drinking alcohol, take an UBER or get someone else to take you home instead of walking

The biggest thing to remember is the road is no place for multitasking.

"It's not just a pedestrian problem," said Zewe. "It's a driver problem, but really it's all about attention and people are not paying attention when they are on their smartphones."

PEMCO says 32 percent of pedestrian deaths involve a distracted driver and 14 percent involve a distracted walker.