The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently released statistics from 2010 that indicate it is not only becoming riskier to be a pedestrian in America, but in California in particular, it is more dangerous than ever.

The NHTSA report states that there were 4,280 pedestrians killed in 2010 involving motor vehicles. Of those, 599 were killed here in California. California was followed in pedestrian deaths by Florida and Texas. While disturbing, the high ranking can certainly be attributed, in part, to weather that is conducive to more walking, and of course, population size. For the sake of the study, pedestrians included walkers, runners, joggers and even those sitting or standing.

What is somewhat surprising is that 90 percent of these fatal pedestrian accidents nationally occurred in clear weather. While the weather may have been clear, almost 70 percent of the deaths happened after dark. In addition, 80 percent of the fatalities occurred in places other than intersections. The survey also revealed that most (over two-thirds) of the victims were male.

So what can be done to reduce the risk of pedestrian deaths? An obvious answer suggested by the statistics would be to only cross roadways at intersections. Pedestrians, like drivers, should avoid use of electronic devices when moving. It is also a good idea to never assume drivers can see you. If you know you will be walking after dark, or if you are a recreational walker or runner, be sure to wear bright or reflective clothing.

At some point, we are all pedestrians. By keeping a watchful eye and using some common sense, we can help from becoming part of this increasing problem.

Source: CNN, “Pedestrian fatalities up 4 percent in 2010; non-intersection crossings most deadly,” Jim Barnett, August 7, 2012.