Pedestrians in California may want to exercise caution if they are walking along streets and highways, even if they are on sidewalks. That is because more pedestrians are killed by motor vehicles in California than most other states.

During the first six months of 2015, pedestrian fatalities in California, Texas, Florida and New York accounted for 42 percent of pedestrian deaths nationwide. More pedestrians are generally killed in the last half of the year, so pedestrian deaths are estimated to increase by 10 percent in 2015 from the previous year, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association. Pedestrian deaths began increasing in 2005 and now account for 15 percent of all traffic fatalities.

The report indicates motorists who are distracted while using cell phones, thus not seeing pedestrians until it is too late, are one reason for the increase. Also, more walkers are out and about due to an increasing awareness of the health benefits that walking provides. A majority of pedestrian fatalities occur after dark; about a third also involves pedestrians who drink and walk. A lower percentage of pedestrians who are hit by a car involve motorists who had been drinking before they got behind the wheel.

It is an unfortunate fact of life that when a vehicle hits a pedestrian, the walker is going to suffer more serious injuries and be more likely to die than car occupants will. Surviving family members of pedestrians who have been killed by a negligent driver may want to meet with an attorney to get information about the procedures involved in filing a wrongful death lawsuit and the types of damages that can be sought.