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Pedestrian fatalities up 4 percent in 2010; non-intersection crossings most deadly

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WASHINGTON (CNN) — When it comes to pedestrian fatalities in the United States, the chances of being injured or dying when crossing roads at non-intersections increase significantly, according to just released government statistics.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 4,280 pedestrians died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2010, a 4% increase from the preceding year, but a decrease of 13% from 2001. An estimated 70,000 others were injured.

Officials said, on average, a pedestrian — defined as anyone on foot, walking, running, jogging, hiking or sitting — was killed on average every two hours and a pedestrian was injured every eight minutes.

NHTSA says nearly 80% of the deaths in 2010 took place at non-intersections and almost 90% occurred in clear weather. Sixty-eight percent happened at night. More than two-thirds of the pedestrians killed in 2010 were males.

According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, nearly half of the fatalities occurred on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Alcohol was involved either for the driver or for the pedestrian in 47% of the fatal crashes.

“Most people are pedestrians at some point in their day. That’s why we’re reminding the public to take precautions and use crosswalks or intersections whenever possible and wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross the street,” NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said in a news release.

The top five states with the most recorded pedestrian deaths in 2010 were California (599), Florida (487), Texas (345), New York (303) and Arizona (146). The states with the fewest number of recorded pedestrian deaths were Wyoming (3), Vermont (4), Alaska (6), North Dakota (7) and Rhode Island, Nebraska, Montana (8 each).

Pedestrian deaths accounted for 13% of all traffic fatalities in 2010.

“Roadway safety is a two-way street that requires effort on the part of motorists and pedestrians alike,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Traffic officials reiterated that pedestrians should avoid being distracted by electronic devices, should use crosswalks and intersections whenever possible and should “never assume a driver sees you.” Drivers are urged to “look out for pedestrians everywhere, at all times.”