6 tips to stay safe crossing the street

A woman and child cross a Detroit street in July. More than 4,000 pedestrians were killed in 2011, a U.S. report says.

Story highlights

  • DOT report: Almost half of pedestrian accidents involve someone who was drunk
  • Nighttime, weekends more dangerous, as is crossing street in cities, report says
  • Florida, South Carolina, Arizona have highest pedestrian fatality rates among states, it says
Look both ways.
That is probably the first traffic safety advice most people get.
But in 2011, some 4,432 pedestrians were killed in the simple act of crossing a street. Those accounted for 14% of all motor vehicle fatalities.
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Transportation released updated pedestrian accident statistics in a bid to increase pedestrian safety.
Here are six things you should know:
1) Sobriety is key. In 48% of fatal pedestrian accidents, either the driver or the pedestrian was drunk. Of pedestrians involved, 35% had blood-alcohol levels of .08%. Of the drivers involved, 13% had levels of .08. Alcohol, the DOT noted, impairs both your walking ability and judgment.
2) It helps to use a crosswalk. Seventy percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred away from intersections, compared with 19% at intersections. (The remainder were listed as "other.")
3) Nighttime is more dangerous. Seventy percent of the fatalities occurred at night.
4) Most accidents occur in cities. Three out of every four pedestrian fatalities happen in urban areas.
5) Weekends are worse: Thirty-nine percent of pedestrian fatalities occur during weekend nights, compared with 27% during weekday nights.
6) Males are represented in larger numbers. More than two-thirds of all pedestrians killed are male. Males are overrepresented in every age group, from 0-5 to 85-plus.
One more thing: Florida, South Carolina and Arizona had the highest pedestrian fatality rates; Nebraska, New Hampshire and Kansas had the lowest.
The DOT has launched a website with safety tips and resources for parents, city planners and others involved in improving pedestrian safety.