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!

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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