It is common knowledge that we should never drink and drive. After countless tragedies related to drunk driving, groups have sprung up across the nation to promote sober driving. Many bars and casinos offer a ride service on certain nights, and trendy new ride share companies have thrived in recent years as safe driving has become mainstream.
Many people like to plan ahead for their nights out, and may walk to a local bar with friends so that they do not have to worry about coordinating a ride. They feel as though they have made a safe decision, and their friends know that when they leave the bar they do not have to worry about anyone driving drunk. It sounds like a win-win, but in reality, it can still be very dangerous.
Walking Drunk: Is it as Risky as Driving Drunk?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released data last year about pedestrian fatalities, and what they discovered was disturbing—over 35 percent of pedestrians killed had blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or over the legal limit of .08 percent. What shocked officials even more was that of the drivers involved in pedestrian fatalities, only 13 percent had a BAC over .08 percent.
The effects of alcohol on a person’s ability to drive are clear, but what many people overlooked was that pedestrians needed many of the same cognitive and motor skills the drivers rely on to safely navigate traffic. Decision making skills and judgment are degraded, and it becomes more difficult to safely assess the distance and speed of oncoming traffic.
Impaired pedestrians are more likely to jaywalk or cross against a signal, assuming that they have enough time to safely navigate across the road. Unfortunately, as numbers have shown, the odds that an impaired pedestrian can accurately judge and navigate traffic.
Previous studies of alcohol impairment in pedestrians over the past 20 years have had similar results, proving that pedestrian impairment is an issue that must be dealt with. While much effort has focused successfully on drunk driving, the Institute for Highway Safety suggests that similar programs could be used to include impaired pedestrians, as well.
Play it Safe, and Call a Ride
As the holiday season draws near and people flock to enjoy beautiful winter weekends here in Florida, it is important that everyone is made aware of the dangers of alcohol impairment for both drivers and pedestrians. Calling a taxi or ride sharing service may cost you a few dollars, but it can save your life.
If you have friends that think they are playing it safe by walking to and from the bars at night, help keep them safe by sharing this article with them on Facebook.