Since accidents involving pedestrians tend to lead to more gruesome outcomes, researchers have been exploring the causes behind pedestrian fatalities. Pedestrian fatalities leave behind a wake of devastating for the surviving family members, especially when the pedestrian wasn’t at fault for the accident.

One study suggests that marijuana and smartphone use are two of the biggest factors influencing pedestrian fatalities. Now that the 2017 data estimates are available for analysis, the Governors Highway Safety Association says that as many as 6,000 pedestrians were killed in car crashes. Pedestrian fatalities represent more than 15 percent of all car crash deaths, a jump from the 11 percent these reached a couple of years ago.

While the numbers from 2017 are quite similar to the year before, that’s bad news for safety advocates and legislators who have been targeting pedestrian accidents and car crashes for the last couple of years. Some cities, including San Diego, have been at the forefront of designing programs aimed to curb pedestrian fatalities. San Diego’s Vision Zero includes many different components all taking target at preventable accidents.

In San Diego, that program has included a bike share and repairing miles of roadway in which accidents were more likely to happen.

Two other trends, however, could limit the impact of efforts like Vision Zero. The growth in the use of smartphones across the country and the law changes surrounding marijuana may contribute to high numbers of pedestrian fatalities. There’s no definitive link with these actions, according to the preliminary report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, but both marijuana and smartphones can impede the ability of a pedestrian to safely get from one destination to another.

Using marijuana before driving or manipulating a smartphone in any way behind the wheel could lead to devastating accidents and injuries for a pedestrian. Those family members left behind after such an accident may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit.