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Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Pedestrian deaths are up 46% since 2009, a USA today/Detroit Free Press investigation found, but it's not texting or calling while driving that's causing the increase — it's SUVs.

One horrifying statistic: In 2016 alone, almost as many pedestrians died on or along U.S. roads as those who have died in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002.

The pedestrian problem by the numbers

All figures were reported by USA Today following their investigation.

Fatalities:

  • 5,987 pedestrians were killed in 2016.
  • The 10 cities with the "highest pedestrian death rate in fatal traffic crashes": Detroit, Michigan; Newark, New Jersey; St. Louis, Missouri; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Miami, Florida; San Bernardino, California; Birmingham, Alabama; Tampa, Florida; Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Phoenix, Arizona.
  • 16% of people killed in traffic accidents in 2016 were pedestrians.

The SUV factor:

  • 60% of new vehicle sales are SUVs and pickup trucks.
  • In 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that almost 40% of pedestrian fatalities are due to SUVs and pickups, and that people are "2-3 times more likely to suffer a fatality when struck by an SUV or pickup truck than when struck by a passenger car."

Other factors:

  • Speed: The probability of death is 85% when a vehicle is averaging 40mph in a crash; that's 45% at 30mph, and 5% at 20mph.
  • Braking: U.S. Department of Transportation researchers found that automatic emergency braking "could reduce up to 5,000 vehicle-to-pedestrian crashes and 810 fatal crashes per year."

Go deeper

48 mins ago - Sports

China pulls Celtics games after Enes Kanter criticizes Xi Jinping

Celtics center Enes Kanter. Photo: Jim Michaud/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

China will no longer stream Boston Celtics games after center Enes Kanter called Chinese President Xi Jinping a "brutal dictator" in a social media post over the Chinese government's repressive policies in Tibet, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: Kanter's criticism of Beijing has sparked another round of trouble for the NBA in China, one of its largest and most restrictive markets.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump's new venture could be peak SPAC

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Former President Trump last night announced plans to launch a digital media network called "Truth Social," and said it would go public via a SPAC called Digital World Acquisition (Nasdaq: DWAC).

What to know: So far, this is a joke. The press release didn't contain even basic information, such as the new company's CEO. In fact, the only execs mentioned are Trump (as chairman) and veteran TV producer Scott St. John as head of a subscription streaming service.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Tesla is outrunning the supply chain crunch

Expand chart
Data: FactSet and company release; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Tesla, citing a "structural shift" in demand for electric vehicles, reported its highest-ever quarterly profit of $1.6 billion and $13.8 billion in revenues despite supply chain problems.

The big picture: The company's third-quarter report says the chip shortage, port congestion and other woes have affected its factories but argues that "flexibility" and "ingenuity" are a counterweight.

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