Road safety experts in California and around the country are extremely concerned about a recent and alarming rise in pedestrian fatalities. Pedestrian deaths in the United States increased by 9.5 percent in 2015 and another 9 percent in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and a report released in February by the Governors Highway Safety Association reveals that they remained high in 2017.

Many experts believe that distraction lies at the root of the problem. That’s why some jurisdictions, including the city of Montclair, have introduced regulations that ban pedestrians from using their cellphones while crossing the street. Car manufacturers have also been accused of not doing enough to address the issue. While automatic braking systems that could save pedestrian lives have been introduced in recent years, simple headlight improvements that could yield far more impressive safety dividends are being ignored, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

However, it is the data linking pedestrian fatalities with marijuana consumption that will likely be most concerning to lawmakers in states like California that have legalized recreational use of the drug. Pedestrian deaths in marijuana-legal states and the District of Columbia soared by 16.4 percent during the first six months of 2017 while falling by 5.8 percent in other parts of the country, according to the GHSA report.

Negligent drivers often claim that the pedestrians they hit were not paying attention or watching where they were walking. However, there are situations when such arguments would have little merit even if they are true. An individual who has been hurt in a pedestrian accident may want to partner with a lawyer who could search for evidence of negligence.