LA County leads nation in pedestrian deaths, study says

A new report shows the number of pedestrian deaths is rising nationwide, but it is the worst in California.

The report from the Governors Highway Safety Association found that California led the nation with 352 pedestrian deaths in the first half of 2017. By comparison, there was just one death in both Hawaii and Wyoming in the same period.

Researchers are trying to figure out if two recent trends are responsible: growing smart phone usage and the legalization of recreational marijuana in several states. The report did not find a definitive link.

The report says pedestrian deaths have risen across the nation for the past 10 years and numbers are continuing to climb, surpassing the rate of deaths from other traffic accidents.

The number of people killed while walking on streets or highways increased by 27% from 2007 to 2016 nationwide, according to the report.

Meanwhile, other traffic deaths were found to have decreased by 14%.

Researchers say the reasons for this vary, but cite more people walking to work, an increase in miles traveled by car and increased smartphone usage in the last decade.

Copyright 2018 FOX 11 Los Angeles: Download our mobile app for breaking news alerts or to watch FOX 11 News | Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.