• U.S.

Pedestrian Deaths Fall After Three-Year Increase

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Pedestrian deaths are down for the first time since 2009, after a terrifying three-year rise.

A new report released Wednesday by the Governors’ Highway Safety Association, pedestrian deaths fell almost 9% in the first six months of 2013. That’s after a 15% rise in pedestrian deaths from 2009-2012.

Experts attributed that rise to the fact that more people are walking, because of the depressed economy (car maintenance is expensive) and out of environmental concerns. Weather patterns generally tend to influence when people walk as well.

But they can’t quite explain the 9% drop in deaths, except to speculate that it may be because of increased driver awareness, increased police presence, and more road infrastructure in some states.

In 2012 and 2013, California, Texas, and Florida together accounted for one third of all reported pedestrian deaths. California had the biggest drop in pedestrian deaths in, with 37 fewer people killed than in 2012.

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Write to Charlotte Alter at charlotte.alter@time.com