The Department of Transportation announced steps Monday to combat a recent rise in pedestrian deaths that it said was partially due to what Secretary Anthony Foxx called “distracted walking.”

Walking while texting or listening to music, or while on drugs, may have contributed to the increase, Foxx said.

“Distracted driving, distracted walking, if that can be a phrase. … Their behaviors as they are driving or walking can impact our ability to keep people safe,” Foxx said.

After decades of fewer pedestrians being killed in traffic crashes, deaths rose from 4,109 in 2009 to 4,432 in 2011, and 69,000 were injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

New York, Los Angeles and Chicago have the highest percentage of pedestrians killed relative to all traffic deaths. Pedestrians comprise 51% of all motor vehicle deaths in New York, 42% in Los Angeles and 30% in Chicago. [LA Times]

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