(Bloomberg) – As the recession took hold in 2008, fewer Americans had jobs to drive to, and others saved gas money and took the bus. Fewer drivers on the road meant fewer pedestrian deaths.

As the economy recovered, Americans spent more time on the road, and motorists started killing pedestrians at a pre-recession pace.

That simplified, gruesome summary reflects a new study from Smart Growth America, a Washington-based organization that promotes walkable cities, which reports that 4,884 U.S. pedestrians were killed in 2014, the last year for which data are available. That's the highest number since 2005 and a 19 percent increase from 2009, when the recession ended.

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