Mystery Map of the Day

The Washington Post reports today that after declining for decades, pedestrian deaths started rising in 2010. Fatalities are now 46 percent higher than they were eight years ago and nobody really seems to know why. But here’s the real mystery:

With just a few exceptions, the deadliest states for pedestrians are all in a well-defined southern band stretching from California to Florida. What’s up with that? What does California have in common with Alabama? Or New Mexico with Florida? Or Nevada with Texas? What’s going on here?

UPDATE: The consensus seems to be that sunbelt states have a lot of pedestrian deaths because they’ve got great weather and people walk more. That seems reasonable. However, this map from FitBit suggests that the exact opposite is true:

Now, maybe all those northerners are walking in the gym or something. Who knows? But it sure looks like Southerners (a) don’t walk much and (b) get killed a lot when they do. The mystery grows!