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!

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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