Most people know how unsafe drinking and driving can be, but how about drinking and walking?
Thomas Esposito of the Loyola University has witnessed the tragic aftermath of drunken walking in his own family as several years ago; his cousin who opted to walk instead of driving home from a party was killed on the roadside.
AdvertisementIn 2005, the journal Injury Prevention reported that New Year's Day is more deadly for pedestrians than any other day of the year. From 1986 to 2002, 410 pedestrians were killed on New Year's Day. Fifty-eight percent of those killed had high blood alcohol concentrations.
During the period from July 2009 to June 2010, 105 people were treated at Loyola after being struck by cars. Fifty-five of those patients had their blood alcohol levels checked.
Of those, 16 (29 percent) were found to have some level of alcohol in their system. Thirteen (24 percent) had blood alcohol concentrations at or above 0.08 percent, the legal definition for impaired driving in Illinois.
"If they had been driving and were stopped by police, they would have been arrested for driving under the influence," said Esposito.
Esposito added that those statistics don't take into account the people who suffer injuries in their homes from unintentional causes and violence after drinking.
"It's not just walking outside. We often see people who have been drinking that have fallen down the stairs or tripped at home and injured themselves. Others have unwisely chosen to 'get into it' with guns, knives, bottles and fists," said Esposito.
He suggested that don't wear dark clothing at night that can make it difficult for drivers to see you and solely on the sidewalks and cross at designated cross walks.
Also, it's a good idea to walk in a group, which is easier for drivers to spot, and try to walk with at least one person who has not been drinking, a designated chaperone or escort.
People hosting parties in which alcohol is consumed have an equal obligation to watch over their guests who are walking home as they do with the ones who may be driving.
Even if a guest who was planning to walk home and who has been drinking is staying on the premises, you should be aware that they could trip and fall down the stairs, said Esposito.
"So you don't want to send them up to the second-story bedroom," he added.
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