Delivering the mail is a dangerous business, whether it is dealing with dog bites, bee stings, the blazing summer sun or the freezing winter winds.
And if that were not enough, mail carriers also run the risk of being hit by cars.
On Thursday morning around 10:30 a.m., a 50-year-old mail carrier was struck by an SUV heading southbound on Ham Lane at the corner of Walnut Street.
According to Officer Brian Freeman, the 78-year-old driver of the 2006 Toyota Highlander may not have seen the mail carrier, who was in the crosswalk just a few feet from the sidewalk when he was hit.
Freeman said that as of press time, the mail carrier was undergoing surgery at
San Joaquin County Hospital and was in "critical but stable" condition.
He added that although fault in the accident has yet to be determined, it appears that no drugs or alcohol were involved.
The names of the mail carrier and the driver have not been released.
The Postmaster at the Lodi U.S. Post Office could not comment on the situation.
For postal workers in Lodi and throughout the state, everyday dangers on the job range from extreme weather conditions to dog bites — on average, roughly 10 letter carriers suffer from dog-related injuries every delivery day, according to the National Association of Letter Carriers.
And while extreme risks like being hit by a car are quite real, it doesn't happen often, according to Gus Ruiz, a U.S. Postal Service spokesperson.
"Vehicles pose a particular concern and it is not often that we have accidents like this," he said. "But nevertheless, one is once too often, in my opinion."
Totaling exactly how many mail carriers are hit by vehicles every year is tricky, however. According to Ruiz, they are clumped together with other accidents involving pedestrians and vehicles, making it hard to keep track of just how many incidents involve mail carriers.
However, the Governors Highway Safety Association released a report in April that showed a slight uptick in vehicle-related pedestrian deaths in the first six months of 2010. California was reported to have at least 300 pedestrian fatalities.
According to the state's Office of Traffic Safety, Lodi seems to be slightly ahead of other cities in terms of keeping the streets safe.
In 2009, out of the 104 cities recorded in the office's website that had populations between 50,001 and 100,000 people, Lodi ranks 61st in pedestrianand vehicle-related accidents for individuals under the age of 15. Lodi ranks 63rd out of 104 cities for pedestrians over the age of 65 being struck by a vehicle.
Data for 2010 or 2011 is not yet available.
According to Ruiz, mail carriers are given extensive training and continual updates on safety measures that need to be taken while on the job. Sometimes, he said, it is still not enough.
"Drivers need to be aware of surroundings every time they get behind the wheel, and they need to be completely focused on what they are doing," Ruiz said. "But carriers are made aware of the dangers, and it's a matter of being observant of conditions all around them."
Contact Katie Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.