Walking home from a bar after consuming too many drinks may be just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. New data provided by the Department of Transportation (DOT) reveal that one-third of pedestrians killed in car accidents in 2011 had alcohol in their system. To make matters worse, the percentage of pedestrian fatalities has grown by 3 percent since 2002.
The renowned economist Steve Levitt once made the controversial claim that every mile walked drunk turns out to be eight times more dangerous than the mile driven drunk. He was not advocating that people drink and drive instead. On the contrary, he simply wanted to shed light on a growing number of alcohol-related fatalities in pedestrians from the year 2009.
DOT took a closer look at traffic crashes in 2011 and found statistics that actually back Levitt’s claims up. More than 1,500 pedestrians, or 35 percent of those killed, had blood alcohol content levels of .08 or higher, which is the legal limit for driving. By comparison, 13 percent of the drivers involved in crashes that killed a pedestrian had blood alcohol content levels above the legal driving limit.
My Rhode Island car accident lawyers believe that the percent of pedestrians killed with alcohol in their system is so high because people are unaware of the dangers of drunk walking. The obvious answer to getting home after a night of drinking is to call a taxi or designate a sober driver.
Mike Bottaro is founder of The Bottaro Law Firm, a Rhode Island personal injury law firm.