Taking a walk down the road is suddenly a lot more dangerous.

FOX's Tom Rigatti explains:

Nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed on U.S. roads last year. That's an 11 percent increase and the highest total in over 20 years.

A new study cites a combination of factors: An improved economy and lower gas prices leading to more driving, along with more walking for exercise and environmental reasons.

But researchers say the biggest factor may be more drivers and walkers distracted by cell phones and other devices.

The report's author notes walking and miles driven are up only a few percentage points, but texting and use of wireless devices have exploded.

Tom Rigatti, FOX News.