Pedestrian fatalities are on the rise in Massachusetts, according to a report released Thursday that estimated pedestrian traffic deaths increased 11 percent nationwide in 2016, which would be the largest increase in 40 years of recordkeeping.
Fifteen percent or 5,376 of the 35,092 traffic fatalities in 2015 were pedestrians, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. The organization's report compared state data from the first six months of 2016 to the same period in 2015 to estimate that total pedestrian deaths could have reached 6,000 last year.
The report suggested more motor vehicle travel and an increase in the use of smartphones by pedestrians and drivers could have contributed to the increase.
Thirty-eight Massachusetts pedestrians were killed in the first half of 2016, according to preliminary data, up from 35 over the same period in 2015.