FOX NEWS -- The number of pedestrians killed on U.S. roads last year was the highest in 28 years, an increase due in part to driver and walker distraction, alcohol and drug impairment and more SUVs on the road, a safety organization report says.
Using data reported by states for the first half of 2018, the Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that 6,227 pedestrians were killed last year. That's up 4 percent from 2017 and 35 percent -- or more than 1,500 additional deaths -- from 2008.
The association says more people are walking to work and they're more distracted by smartphones. America's massive switch from cars to SUVs and light trucks caused more deaths because the taller SUVs tend to hit pedestrians in the head and upper torso, causing more severe injuries, the report said.
"At the same impact speed, a pedestrian is much more likely to die in an SUV crash than in a car crash," said Richard Retting, a consultant and former top traffic safety official with the city of New York who authored the report. "Even at 20 or 25 miles per hour, being hit by an SUV, the chance of fatal injuries increases significantly."